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80 workers face layoffs as Olymel closes pig farms in Alberta and Saskatchewan

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About 80 workers at Olymel pig farms in Alberta and Saskatchewan are facing layoffs, as the company moves to cull six production facilities in the next few months.

“Due to the continued financial losses and uncertainty in the hog and pork markets for the foreseeable future, Olymel has made the difficult decision to reduce its hog production in Western Canada,” a news release from the company said.

Olymel plans to close five sow units in Alberta and one in Saskatchewan, located in Humboldt, bringing its western sow herd down from 57,000 to 40,000 animals.

The company said workers at the Humboldt facility may potentially be offered job placement within its western division, or assistance with “job placement outside the company.”

Olymel says the closure of these six farms will reduce the number of hogs bound for its Red Deer slaughter plant by approximately 200,000.

“However, the impact will not be felt until 2024 at the earliest,” the news release said.

The company says it has experienced significant losses in the last two years because of limited global market access and “stubbornly high” feed costs.

The barns will be closed until market conditions improve, Olymel says.

Olymel has already closed three other facilities in 2023, including two processing plants and one slaughtering facility in Quebec.

Over 1,000 workers received layoff notices in the closures, according to company news releases.

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