New dairy plant officially opens
Newfoundland and Labrador�s newest dairy processing plant was officially opened in Stephenville today. Wholesome Dairy Limited produces eight brands of yogurt, but plant owners Brent Chaffey and Gerard Cormier said the plant will expand production to other value-added dairy products in the future.
The $1.7 million plant will receive up to $500,000 under Canada�s national agriculture plan, the Agricultural Policy Framework (APF), to put equipment and procedures in place to ensure the highest food safety and quality standards. The plant also received a $498,826 repayable contribution from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.
"It�s extremely encouraging to see the Agricultural Policy Framework being put to work to diversify and strengthen the agriculture and food sector in this province," said Andy Mitchell, Minister of Agriculture and Agrifoods Canada. "Wholesome Dairy Limited continues the growth we have seen in the Newfoundland and Labrador dairy industry since the province joined the National Dairy Plan in 2001."
"Today�s event underlines the Government of Canada�s commitment to regional economic development in rural Newfoundland and Labrador," added Joseph McGuire, Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. "Wholesome Dairy Limited is a great example of an innovative project which will produce long-term jobs and improve the economy of the area and the province as a whole."
"The opening of Wholesome Dairy Limited marks a significant milestone in the development of the dairy sector in Newfoundland and Labrador," said Ed Byrne, Minister of Natural Resources for Newfoundland and Labrador. "We are now taking advantage of the increased industrial milk quota and the opportunity this quota presents for the growth and diversification of the agriculture industry."
Newfoundland and Labrador�s annual industrial milk quota of 31 million litres is being phased in over 15 years to allow dairy farmers and processors time to expand their operations and build the sector�s infrastructure. The province produces seven million litres of industrial milk for value-added dairy products like ice cream and yogurt. Milk production is expected to double over the phase-in period and create 500 new jobs.
Newfoundland and Labrador was the first province to implement the APF in May 2003. Under the five-year agreement, an estimated $32 million in federal and provincial funding will be available for programs and projects to help the provincial agriculture and agri-food industry contribute to the national objective of making Canada the world leader in food safety and quality, innovation and environmentally sustainable production.
The Newfoundland and Labrador agriculture and agrifoods industry employs more than 4,000 people and is valued at more than $500 million to the provincial economy.
Media contact:Elizabeth Whiting
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
2005 01 27 3:30 p.m.