Government investment encouraging food processor growth in central Alberta

By Kirsten Dennis
July 25, 2017 - 4:35pm

Combined funding from the federal and provincial governments in the amount of $2 million will help central Alberta food processors upgrade equipment, expand capacity and improve efficiency.

The funding, through the Growing Forward 2 program, will assist three local businesses including New Leaf Essentials and Sungold Specialty Meats, both of which are in Innisfail, and Olymel's Red Deer operations.

New Leaf Essentials will have money put towards new equipment for a new pulse milling and fractioning facility as well as enhancing its dry and wet processing capacity. Olymel will be purchasing and installing an Advanced Meat Recovery System to improve production processes.

Sungold Specialty Meats Ltd. Will put the funds towards a portion of the costs to purchase new cooling equipment and increase operations to meet consumer demands for lamb, goat and mutton products.

Other businesses in Alberta receiving funding include Tiras Dairies in Canmore and Trochu Meat Processors Ltd. (Sunterra Meats) in Trochu.

Growing Forward 2 is a federal-provincial-territorial partnership organized to incentivize innovative, competitive and profitable Canadian agriculture and agri-food businesses.

“The agri-business sector is a key driver of growth in the Canadian economy and a source of good, well-paying jobs for the middle class. These projects will also help to increase the demand for products from Canadian farmers and the broader supply chain,” said Lawrence MacAulay, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in a press release.

Almost $14.6 billion in sales were generated by food and beverage processing in Alberta in 2016. Food and beverage processing was also the largest manufacturing employer in the province, providing more than 22,400 jobs.

The Growing Forward 2 initiative was a five-year program that started in 2013. By the end of Growing Forward 2, it is expected that total funding invested into strategic programs for Alberta’s agricultural sector will exceed $406 million.

“Alberta’s food processing sector is a significant pillar of our agriculture industry and a major employer across the province,” said Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.

“Supporting companies as they improve their operations helps contribute to their long-term success, strengthens the agriculture sector as a whole and further diversifies Alberta’s economy.”

 

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