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A pilot program is being launched to help cattle and hog producers in western provinces manage price risks faced by the industry.

Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced the expansion of the program at the 28th annual Bull Congress in Camrose Friday, "I'm pleased to join with my colleagues from Alberta, Saskatchewan and British  Columbia to announce our support of a pilot price insurance program for beef and hog producers. Starting this spring, livestock producers in these provinces will be able to purchase insurance to protect their businesses against unexpected drops in prices that go beyond their control."

Alberta introduced price insurance in 2009 for cattle and hog producers and this plan expands the concept.

Martin Unrau, President of the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, says it's a good program, "It's extremely important that we're on a level playing field when it comes to raising cattle in Canada.  We, of course, feel this program could be done all across Canada but at this time this is what we have and it's a tremendous benefit for us as cattle producers."

The Vice-President of the association, Dave Solverson says Alberta producer's are glad to see it expanded as well, "When a risk management program is only available in one region it can tend to artificially distort movement and placement of feeders. This will restore the market driven competitive business environment."

Federal Ag minister Gerry Ritz says the pilot program will last four years and after the interest in it will be assessed and it'll be determined whether to continue with it.