Big Sky Farms, the giant Saskatchewan pork producer that recently went into receivership, owes close to $69 million to banks and millions more to its suppliers, court documents say.
Under an order approved by a Queen's Bench justice on Monday, Ernst & Young is the receiver for the Humboldt-based company, which is Saskatchewan's largest hog producer.
The banks that have been lending money to Big Sky say they're owed $68.8 million. Big Sky also owes $8.4 million to its suppliers, for a total indebtedness of about $77 million, according to an affidavit from the banks.
Big Sky ran into trouble after feed prices for pigs rose dramatically. That raised the company's costs, but it also resulted in producers around North America sending a flood of hogs to the slaughterhouse, depressing prices.
Big Sky continues to operate, but a new buyer is being sought.
Support from government
Meanwhile, Saskatchewan's Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart says the problem facing the hog industry goes beyond one company.
He says he'll talk about that at a meeting of his counterparts from across Canada which begins this week in Whitehorse.
"It's certainly not an issue I think that any provincial government can really manage or should be called upon to do," he said.
Stewart says such help would need to come from the federal government.
That may happen as soon as Thursday. Ottawa has an announcement of "support" for the swine industry scheduled for later this morning.