Governments Support McCain and Spenst Plant Upgrades
The federal government of Canada and provincial government of Manitoba will invest nearly $380,000 at a McCain Foods potato processing plant in Carberry and $250,000 at the Spenst Brothers Premium Meats facility in Winkler. The money is being provided under a cost-shared program that steers financial assistance to agri-businesses that need to make changes to adapt to market forces and improve environmental conditions.
Government funding going to McCain Foods will pay for 50% of the installation of new equipment at its Carberry plant, where approximately 430 million pounds of Manitoba-grown potatoes are annually processed into frozen french fries and other value-added products. Upgrades will reduce potato and canola oil waste by 900,000 pounds and 800,000 pounds per year, respectively.
McCain has invested more than $30 million in other improvements to the Carberry facility over the last 10 years, including a $23 million project for modernization of wastewater treatment. The plant employs about 220 people, with another 10 jobs likely to be created over the next three years.
Manitoba is Canada’s second-largest potato producing region behind Prince Edward Island, supporting 120 growers and employing 1,500 full-time and casual workers. During 2013 approximately 70,000 acres of potatoes in the province were cultivated, yielding crops valued at roughly $192 million.
“The government of Canada recognizes that Canadian food processors must continually adapt and upgrade to remain competitive. This investment will help Manitoba potato processors deliver innovative food grown in sustainable ways to Canadians and global consumers,” said Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay.
“In order to stay competitive, it’s important to have equipment that runs efficiently, allowing maximum productivity and minimal waste. We export 80 per cent of the products made at our plant, so investments in equipment help support our employees, local growers, and the surrounding communities,” added Dean Melnic, plant manager at McCain Foods’ Carberry facility.
Meanwhile, the family-owned Spenst Brother Premium Meats operation, which produces frozen pizza and meatloaf as well as a wide assortment of deli meats, perogies and other products, is planning a $2.3 million expansion. Ultimately the governments of Canada and Manitoba have pledged to support the purchase of more than $1 million worth of new machinery including packaging systems, conveyors, ovens and cooling equipment.
The company currently buys approximately $345,000 worth of ingredients from Manitoba suppliers and employs 18 full-time staff. The expansion is expected to boost provincial purchases to nearly $1.9 million and increase full-time positions to 30 after three years.
“Manitoba is committed to helping family-owned and local businesses grow because we recognize how important their success is to the community and our economy. This new equipment will help Spenst Brothers Premium Meats increase production, improve efficiency and create new products to ensure their future in Manitoba and within the food processing industry,” stated Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn.