Farmscape for January 20, 2021
The General Manager of Manitoba Pork says the public's understanding and appreciation of the economic contributions of the pork sector to the provincial economy has increased substantially over the past 16 years.
Manitoba Pork is the organization that represents the interests of the province's approximately 600 swine operations.
Andrew Dickson, who is set to retire January 29th after 16 as the organization's General Manager, says during that time he's seen an evolution of the public's attitudes toward the sector.
Clip-Andrew Dickson-Manitoba Pork:
I can remember back in the 1990s when there was a lot of expansion going on, we had public meetings with 200 or 330 people at them and there were major rows.
I can remember two meetings I went to do presentations where the police had to be called to restore order.
Fortunately we're not like that anymore and I think this effort to try and reach out to local governments, reach out to local communities and talk to them about developments, we can reduce some of the conflict and get a more positive attitude.
Now actually we're getting rural municipalities contacting us asking us to come out and visit with them because they'd like to see some barn developments and that's a very different approach than we had when I first started but it's something you have to invest in all the time.
When you're dealing with urban audiences you can't make assumptions on what people know and we're constantly probing them, talking to them, reaching out to Winnipeg and the urban centres in rural Manitoba so that we explain what our industry is about and why we'd like to see more development and the positive impact it has on the Manitoba economy and society.
Dickson says pork producers need to continue to work with the public to maintain their faith in the industry and the benefits it brings and to protect their social licence.
He acknowledges, while there are some people that are opposed to the pork industry, the vast majority of the province is supportive.
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