JOHNSTOWN – Federal funding towards a new grain drier for the Port of Johnstown was announced August 18.
The funding, through the federal government’s Ministry of Agriculture and Agri-Food’s Agricultural Clean Technology program, will see the new equipment increase efficiency at the port, and reduce fuel consumption.
“Across Eastern Ontario, our Government is committed to working closely with farmers to reduce CO2 emissions and develop technology to prevent further climate change,” said Francis Drouin, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Friday. “By investing in the Port of Johnstown, we continue to establish the right building blocks to get to net zero by 2050.”
The project, once complete, will use a heat capture and air recycling system that will reduce fuel consumption, and increase efficiency for drying grain. This new equipment, to be located south of the large metal grain storage bins at the port, will help get local crops to market sooner, and reduce the risk of grain spoilage – which has been an issue at the port in past wet seasons.
“And my God, do we have a wet season,” Drouin said during the announcement at the port Friday.
The port, which is owned by the Township of Edwardsburgh Cardinal, serves over 1,600 farmers in the region, as well as major industries like the Greenfield Ethanol Plant across the road from the port, and Casco in Cardinal.
Since the port was purchased from Ports Canada in 2000, over $55 million in funding has updated and expanded the port facilities.
“The Port of Johnstown has a long history of successful funding partnerships with the federal government,” said Edwardsburgh Cardinal mayor Tory Deschamps. “Again and again the Port of Johnstown staff and the committee have proven the ability to deliver on major projects, so thankfully here we go again.”
Deschamps highlighted the benefits of the port to the township and surrounding area.
“This investment will support agriculture and play a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” he said. “Grain drying is an essential process, preserving crops and ensuring their quality during these wet harvest seasons. ”
Mohawk Council of Akwesasne district chief for Kawehno:ke Edward Roundpoint spoke of the importance of stewardship of the environment in agriculture.
“This initiative exemplifies the pro-active approach of confronting the challenges faced in modern agriculture,” he said. “By providing support and resources to adopt cleaner and more sustainable technologies, this program empowers farmers and communities like ours to mitigate our impact on the environment while continuing to produce the food that sustains us.”
The grain drier has a projected cost of $4-6 million. Deschamps told The Leader that the Port Management Committee must approve the purchase, which he expects will happen in 2024.
“Our hope is to have it purchased and installed ASAP,” he said adding that the port has until 2026 to complete the purchase.
Since the ACT program started, 252 projects totalling $98.2 million have been announced. The ACT program has nearly $500 million in funding from the federal government.