AAFC invests in grain, food facilities in Alberta

by Holly Demaree
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EDMONTON, ALBERTA, CANADA – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) and the Alberta Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry are providing up to C$1.3 million in grants through Growing Forward 2 to help northern Alberta grain and food processors upgrade equipment, expand capacity and improve efficiency to meet a growing demand for high-quality, value-added products.

These investments reflect the governments’ commitment to support jobs in food processing and to help value-added businesses pursue economic opportunities and respond to consumer demand.

“Agri-food and beverage processing companies play an important role in the Canadian economy,” said Lawrence MacAulay, minister of AAFC. “Through these investments, we are creating opportunities for Alberta’s agri-food sector to grow and prosper, and create good jobs to strengthen the middle class.”

Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Agri-Industries is one of four northern Alberta food processors growing their businesses with the help of government investment. The Lloydminster business, which produces renewable products for food, animal feed, and chemical and energy use, received C$546,000 through Growing Forward 2 toward costs of an equipment upgrade to improve capacity and increase efficiency.

“The Growing Forward 2 grants have helped fund investments in Lloydminster that provide an easy, accessible way for local farmers to access global markets for canola,” said Tim Cassidy, commercial manager, ADM Agri-Industries Ltd.

Additional northern Alberta agri-food processors benefiting from Growing Forward 2 grants include:

  • Bunge Canada Holdings Inc. – approximately C$280,000 to help upgrade its oilseed processing facility in Fort Saskatchewan.
  • Champion Petfoods LP – C$288,990 for equipment and systems to increase productivity and reduce energy consumption.
  • GFR Ingredients – to purchase equipment for the production of high-protein hemp powder products.

“Bunge has a strong footprint in Canada,” said Weston Kendall, maintenance and reliability manager, Bunge Canada, Fort Saskatchewan. “Thanks to the new equipment purchased through the Growing Forward 2 program we made that footprint even stronger by improving the quality and efficiency of one of our plants.”

In 2016, the food and beverage processing sector in Alberta generated C$14.6 billion in sales and was the largest manufacturing employer in the province accounting for more than 22,400 jobs.

“We are very grateful and proud of the ongoing partnership between the Alberta government and Champion Petfoods through the Growing Forward 2 program,” said Frank Burdzy, president and chief executive officer, Champion Petfoods. “Our mission at Champion Petfoods is to make Biologically Appropriate pet foods, from fresh regional ingredients, and we never outsource. With this focus on using fresh regional ingredients, everything that we are able to partner with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry on has a positive impact on our regional agricultural community.”

The Growing Forward 2 initiative is a federal-provincial-territorial partnership that provides programs and services to drive an innovative, competitive and profitable Canadian agriculture and agri-foods sector. By the end of the Growing Forward 2 initiative in March 2018, it is expected that more than C$406 million will have been invested in strategic programs for Alberta’s agricultural sector.

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