INGLESIDE – Monday morning Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay was at Lactalis Canada’s Ingleside cheese plant to announce $89 million in funding for 49 projects across Canada under the Supply Management Processing Investment Fund.
This fund is part of the Government of Canada’s support of processors in supply managed sectors meant to address the impacts of recent international trade agreements.
Through this funding, dairy, poultry and egg processors are able to purchase and install new automated equipment and technology, allowing them to boost their production capacity and productivity, while also helping them respond to environmental challenges and labour shortages.
Project examples include milk pasteurizers, ultrafiltration systems, robotics for packaging systems, and new machines for grading, setting and breaking eggs.
“As a former dairy farmer myself I know that supply management is great for this country,” said MacAulay. “It helps our dairy and egg industry grow and it supports our rural communities. It provides stability both for producers and consumers.”
Among the 49 projects funded through this funding announcement is $3.3 million for new automated cheese processing and packaging equipment at the Lactalis Ingleside location.
“This is a very important initiative that will have a positive impact for processors, but also for the whole supply chain,” said Gilles Froment, Lactalis Canada senior vice president of government and industry relations.
Bruce Shurtleff, site director, Lactalis Canada Ingleside facility, one of the largest cheese production facilities employing 450 people, said that over the last five years significant improvements have been made to the facility.
In addition to this $3.3M funding announcement Lactalis is also investing $11 million to enable further modernization of the facility, increasing production capacity and the productivity of this site.
“It provides stability to our operations in Ingleside and creates other far-reaching impacts beyond Ingleside,” said Shurtleff.
As part of a larger term plan this investment will grow milk volumes by nine per cent.
“This benefit extends to the employees, to the farmers and the community members and eventually the consumers,” added Froment. “This partnership is valuable to us and we look forward to continued collaboration.”
This was the first time Lactalis Canada’s Ingleside site has hosted the Minister of Agriculture.
“It’s your money and we want to make sure people know it’s being spent appropriately and what it does for the industry and the community,” said Minister MacAulay.
“We’re talking about a nine per cent increase in production: that’s a big deal. It means more money for the area and that’s what it’s all about. We all want to live well,” added MacAuley.
A new production line for cannisters is being added to the facility which will increase the number of jobs here at the Lactalis Canada Ingleside cheese production facility.