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Co-op Feeds to shut two Prairie plants, sell another

Three feed mills to remain in Co-op Feeds network

In the face of “industry challenges,” Federated Co-operatives’ livestock feed manufacturing division plans to pull its operations from six plants down into three.

Saskatoon-based Federated Co-op announced Monday it will consolidate its production of bulk and bagged cattle, horse, sheep and poultry feed into three of its existing plants, at Calgary, Saskatoon and Moosomin, Sask.

That means winding down operations and shuttering Co-op Feeds’ plants at Melfort, Sask. in August and at Brandon, Man. in October. Media outlets in Manitoba and Saskatchewan on Monday quoted Federated Co-op officials as saying those two closures will affect a total of 10 jobs.

The sixth Co-op Feeds plant, at Edmonton, and its operations are to be transferred to Wetaskiwin, Alta.-based Country Junction Feeds, a division of Wetaskiwin Co-op, at the end of September.

Federated Co-op said Monday it will make “significant capital investments” to modernize Co-op Feeds’ three remaining plants, including new bagging equipment to support “better stitched, open-mouth bags.”

“While we don’t make these decisions lightly, by consolidating manufacturing and taking measures to refocus our resources in the livestock sector, we’re better able to serve our local co-ops and their producer customers across Western Canada well into the future,” Ron Healey, Federated Co-op’s vice-president for ag and consumer business, said in a release.

Federated Co-op said it undertook a “full review” of its feed business — and its decisions to close facilities and make capital investments at others are meant to “address unprecedented competitor consolidation and a changing market in the feed sector.”

The parent co-operative said it’s “making these changes to help ensure that it can continue providing Co-op feed products and services in the long term.”

Shelley Revering, Federated Co-op’s director for feed, said the move “results from industry challenges and in no way reflects the substantial efforts of our plant teams.”

For its part, Country Junction Feeds said in a separate release Tuesday its acquisition of the Edmonton feed milling plant will provide “significant feed mill capacity directed at serving northern Alberta and beyond.”

Combined with its current operation, the company said, the Edmonton plant will allow it to deliver a “wide range of feed and solutions to fit all major livestock and equine species and production approaches, including tailored solutions for different stages of life and both conventional and niche market opportunities.”

Country Junction today bills its Wetaskiwin plant, built in 1973, as the “only full-line feed mill producing organic feeds in Alberta.” — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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