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New Poultry Processing Plant for Nova Scotia

by 5m Editor
15 July 2010, at 9:35a.m.

NOVA SCOTIA, CANADA - A new chicken and turkey processing plant owned by farmers and Maple Lodge Farms is to open in Kentville.

Nova Scotia is about to get a new poultry processing plant in the Kentville area that will be partly owned by farmers, reports CBC.

Poultry farmers will pay for half of the brand new C$46 million plant, while Ontario-based Maple Lodge Farms will own the other half.

The farmers will provide the chickens and turkeys for processing, and Maple Lodge Farms will take care of the marketing.

Ian Blenkharn, a spokesman for the committee that represents poultry producers, said a majority of farmers in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island not only want to have their poultry cut and packed at the new plant, they also want to be owners.

He said: "They will each put in the required equity and then there'll be traditional financing like any other business."

Mr Blenkharn said there is still time for farmers to buy in if they have not already done so.

"We have adequate support to announce the project. It's going to take probably another four to six months to finalize the plans and be in a position to start construction. So, there's time yet," he said.

For now, farmers are either shipping their chicken to New Brunswick or processing it at the aging ACA Co-operative Ltd. facility in New Minas.

When the air-chilled plant opens in the spring of 2012, the ACA plant will close.

Mr Blenkharn explained that they will try to sell as much chicken as they can in Atlantic Canada but it is likely a lot of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island (PEI) chicken will end up on dinner plates in Ontario.

There are 82 chicken farms in Nova Scotia producing 43,000 tonnes of chicken each year. There are seven poultry farmers in PEI.

This is a rare piece of good news in an industry that was rocked in 2007 by the closure of the Maple Leaf poultry plant near Canning, and the loss of nearly 400 jobs, reports CBC.

Two years later, ACA closed its Eastern Protein Foods operation at the Kentville business park, which meant a loss of 187 union jobs and dozens of non-union positions.

It also laid off 75 union employees and several non-union workers at its office in New Minas when it dropped its tray-pack operations.