Almonte farmer wins pork award By Mary Cook Citizen special correspondent
Donald Lowry has been named one of Ontario’s top pork producers by the Ontario Pork Congress. The award, presented for the first time this year, was for continued and outstanding contribution to the pork industry. Mr. Lowry, of RR 3 Almonte, raises 2,000 pigs a year, selling 40 per cent for breeder stock and the remainder for consumer use.
His sales involve travelling about 60,000 miles each year. He buys new breeder stock mainly in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes, but this spring he bought seven top breeders in Ireland at a cost of $1,000. Most top herds in Canada are interrelated, he said, and new blood must be introduced to prevent weaknesses.
Taking the pigs to market has given the Lowrys some funny moments. On their way to Indiana with a truckload of pigs a sow gave birth to a litter of eight, which had to be transferred to a cardboard box on the front seat. Exhaustion forced a late-night stop at a motel “quite prestigious to say the least” and the box of piglets was quietly taken inside.
In the wee hours of the morning, they started to squeal for food and by the time the Lowrys were fully awake, eight tiny pigs were running all over the room, under the furniture, into the bathroom squealing constantly. When Mr. Lowry wondered why the occupants of rooms on either side of theirs hadn’t complained, Mrs. Lowry said, “Do you really think anyone is going to phone the office and say there’s a litter of pigs in the next room? The office would think they were crazy.”
Mr. Lowry’s most cherished award, apart from the plaque he just received, was a championship at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. The top price he has got for a breeder is $3,000. Mr. Lowry is reasonably happy with today’s pork market. The producer is getting a very realistic price at 70 cents a pound dressed, he said, and prices went too high last summer.
“Prices must be good enough to encourage the producer, but reasonable enough to entice the consumer. I think we are at that stage now.” The -Lowrys are heavy pork consumers. Pork is a versatile meat and at present prices it offers good nutritional value, Mr. Lowry said. He said it probably would be another 10 years before the particular plaque is awarded again. Jack Durant of Chesterville was the only other Eastern Ontario producer to receive an award from the congress this year.
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