Beef Farmers of Ontario pushing for resolution as Cargill strike approaches two-week mark

Workers on strike at Cargill’s Dunlop processing facility at Guelph, Ont. (source: UFCW Local 175/Facebook)

The strike at Cargill’s beef processing facility at Guelph, Ont., is nearing the two-week mark, forcing cattle to be marketed elsewhere in and outside the province.

Around 960 workers at the Cargill facility, which can processes around 1,500 head of cattle per day and represents between 75 and 80 per cent of Ontario’s beef processing capacity, have been picketing at the plant since May 27.

Beef Farmers of Ontario president Craig McLaughlin says everyone in Ontario’s cattle sector is feeling the impact, but feedlots are utilizing several relief outlets for market-ready animals.

“It’s a bit of everything. Some will stay at home, some will move out of the province, some will be moved out of the country, and some will find places in other provincial plants,” he says, in the update below, recorded on June 7.

He says BFO is meeting with government officials and has proposed several measures to alleviate the impact on producers, including subsidies for transporting cattle longer distances to slaughter, increasing funding through Ontario’s Risk Management Program, accelerated payments, and if needed, a cattle set-aside program.

“The bottom line is cattle have to go somewhere. They can’t just stick around and get heavier in the feedyard. It affects everyone,” he notes.

McLaughlin says BFO will be discussing the strike and proposals for mitigating the impact with Ontario’s newly-named farm and agriculture minister, Rob Flack, “sooner than later.”

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