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B.C. processor honoured for impact made on Saskatchewan pork industry

The Saskatchewan Pork Development board is taking a moment to recognize someone who has made a significant and lasting impact on the industry in our province and his legacy will be continued in the years and decades ahead.

With Donald Leung being honoured as the recipient of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Leung immigrated to Canada in 1975, and made ends meet working a number of jobs, including working in meat processing.  He worked his way up in the business, developing a deep understanding in all aspects of processing and sales. 

In 1993, Leung founded his company in Vancouver under the name Donald’s Meat Distribution. It started as a small meat distribution company with three employees.  This was just the beginning for Donald in building what would become an international pork business operating in B.C. and Saskatchewan.  Over the past 30 years his company has grown and expanded in in many ways.  

He began building relationships with clients in the Lower Mainland and internationally.  In 1997, he purchased a pork abattoir known as Britco Pork in Langley, B.C., and began the process of delivering pork to customers around the world with a focus on food safety, product quality and enhanced levels of customer service.

In 2005 the company’s name was changed to Donald’s Fine Foods, and a new processing facility on Mitchell Island was built.

A few short years later, after becoming aware of the opportunities for pork production in Saskatchewan, he purchased the former Moose Jaw Packers plant.  This facility, formerly a producer owned plant, had been vacant for several years.  It was significantly upgraded and given new life, becoming Saskatchewan’s largest Federally inspected pork processing facility and providing a much-needed local market for hogs in the province. 

Operating for more than a decade now, Thunder Creek Pork has provided hundreds of jobs to the provincial economy, a stable market for animals and introduced more competition into the western Canadian hog market.

In 2019, Donald once again showed his confidence and commitment to Saskatchewan when he purchased the former XL Foods beef plant in Moose Jaw, Sask., with the hopes of finding another opportunity to expand its business. Donald has explored various opportunities before deciding on a state of the art, new sow processing plant. 

This dream has become a reality, with the grand opening for North 49 Foods on October 27th.  This facility will provide a great local market opportunity for sows in Western Canada, and significantly reduce transportation distances and times on truck for animals.  This will result in a significant improvement in animal welfare conditions, and reduced cross-border movements will also significantly improve biosecurity for our industry and reduce our greenhouse gas footprint.

It is amazing what Donald through his company and its subsidiaries have achieved, now providing quality meat products and services to both domestic and international customers in more than 25 countries. The company has 6 facilities, over 900 employees, processes 650,000 Western Canadian markets hogs annually, and services hundreds of customers in across the country and around the world. 

Donald and Julia have two children.  Carrying on their legacy, their son Allan is now the CEO of Donald’s Fine Foods, managing the day-to-day operations of the business.  Their daughter, Dr. Elaine Leung, is a marine biologist and Founder and Executive Director of Sea Smart, a Vancouver-based charity whose mission is to inspire and empower kids to love and protect our oceans.

The Leung Family have also given back to the communities they live and operate their business in. They have given generous donations to a number of charities, including lung cancer research, the BC Children’s Hospital, and most recently the North 49 Foods sow processing facility donated $50,000 each to the Moose Jaw Health Foundation and the Moose Jaw & District Food Bank.

What Donald built from humble beginnings has become one of Saskatchewan’s most important companies in the hog industry.  Saskatchewan’s pork producers are grateful for your vision and commitment to the province and pork production. 

Leung was presented his Lifetime Achievement Award during the Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium in Saskatoon on November 7th.

Source : Saskpork

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