Governments Investing in Meat Processors Capacity in OntarioPublished on May 10, 2021
Support will improve production and safety measures in provincial abattoirs
May 10, 2021
ELMIRA — Today, Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris announced $150,000 in local funding for Conestoga Meats in Breslau as part of the provincial and federal governments’ investment of more than $7 million to quickly increase production and efficiency in meat processing plants across the province.
Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, 77 projects are receiving cost-share funding to purchase or upgrade equipment that will improve productions and safety measures in free-standing meat plants and abattoirs in Ontario. The program was focused on measures that could quickly increase processing capacity as the industry dealt with a shortage of processing capacity, partly related to COVID slowdowns.
“On top of COVID-19, limited processing capacity has presented numerous challenges for Waterloo Region’s farmers,” said MPP Mike Harris. “This investment will help alleviate some of those pressures by increasing productivity at Conestoga Meats while also making the jobs of their employees safer and easier”.
“COVID made it more difficult for our farmers to find the processing capacity that they needed and these investments are part of our rapid response to help both our farmers and our processing industry to succeed in these challenging times,” said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “This announcement is the latest step our government is taking to support the sector to improve productivity and food safety to help keep Ontario’s food supply system strong.”
This funding is part of both governments’ investments to assist Ontario’s agri-food sector in meeting challenges related to COVID-19. Today’s local investment will go towards the implementation automated box lifting equipment to increase packaging efficiencies at Conestoga Meats.
“Conestoga Meats appreciates the support and investment from both governments towards an improvement in our packaging efficiencies. The new equipment provides added support from a Health and Safety standpoint, making jobs easier and more efficient,” said Arnold Drung, President of Conestoga Meats. ”As the volume at Conestoga Meats continues to grow, we are grateful for the support in helping to maintain a safe and productive environment for our employees and farmers.”
Since June 2018, both the federal and provincial governments have committed cost-share support to approximately 4,400 projects through the Partnership to help eligible Ontario farmers, processors, businesses and sector organizations innovate and grow.
- Due to high demand, an additional $3.2 million was added to this program from the original $4 million allocation to fund all eligible applications received.
- The Partnership is a five-year, $3-billion commitment by Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments that supports Canada's agri-food and agri-products sectors.
- There are 480 provincially licensed and 230 federally licensed facilities (abattoirs and free-standing meat plants) in Ontario.
- The Ontario agri-food sector supports more than 860,000 jobs in Ontario and contributes more than $47.3 billion each year to the province’s economy.