Canadian Co-op Atlantic from Moncton, New Brunswick announced the construction of a new feed mill, replacing an existing facility which has been in operation since 1946.
The new mill will be located on a parcel of land adjacent to the existing structure. The construction project, estimated at CAN$7.5 million, is expected to be completed by October of this year.
The new facility will result in an increase in feed production efficiency. "This new feed mill, with its modern technology, represents a significant step forward in our feed production capability," said John Harvie, CEO for Co-op Atlantic.
"The new mill will help us serve livestock producers in New Brunswick in a much more efficient manner. It will also allow us to better serve our growing retail Country Store business in all of the Atlantic Provinces.
The new mill will have a capacity to produce more than 40,000 tons of animal feed per year, complementing the existing Coop feed milling capacity in Atlantic Canada.
The procurement and sale of grains and feeds at fair prices was in fact the principal factor behind the establishment of Co-op Atlantic, in 1927, then called the Maritime Livestock Board.
"Our members recognize the importance of the agricultural sector to our region’s economy and they have confidence in its future," said Marcel Garvie, president of the Board of directors.
Noting that agriculture is currently going through a transition, Garvie is optimistic that the demand for locally-produced product will sustain the viable agricultural industry in our region.
The feed mill buys grain crops and corn from local farms to mix up customized batches of grain feed that are sold in bulk to cattle and poultry farms.
The 25-kilogram bags of feed are sold at Co-op Atlantic's chain of 27 retail stores in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Much of the feed goes to more than 250 dairy farms in New Brunswick, who provide milk to dairies in the province.
Bryan Inglis, vice-president of agriculture for Co-op Atlantic, said the Moncton mill is one of four in Atlantic Canada. The others are located in Truro, New Minas and St. John's.
"We bring the ingredients in and we have nutritionists on staff who formulate the feeds. We customize our feeds for every farm. If a farmer wants more butter fat or energy, we will customize the feeds for them," he said.
The mill currently employs 23 people, but may require fewer when it is operational. He said some of the unionized employees may be moved around to other Co-op Atlantic operations so there will be no job losses.