Farm-to-fork pork producer HyLife has cleared the final hurdle before construction begins on a proposed feed mill in Killarney, Man. this month.
The Killarney-Turtle Mountain municipal council unanimously approved a conditional use order April 19, allowing the mill to be built in the northeast end of the community.
“We’ve been working with HyLife probably for the last six months on this,” Mayor Rick Pauls said. “We’re very pleased that it chose our community to build this in and we’re looking forward to the economic spinoff that it’s going to provide for us all here.”
According to HyLife president Claude Vielfaure, the community located 100 kilometres southeast of Brandon was chosen due to the large number of HyLife-run barns already in the area. The company produces about 1.69 million hogs annually, according to its website.
The Killarney mill is expected to create 20 jobs. Pauls further noted that the addition will not jeopardize current feed mill companies in Killarney, since the mill will be targeted for HyLife’s internal use.
“This is just a net win for us,” he said.
With an expected capacity 250,000 tonnes of feed per year, the mill will resemble the 12,800-square-foot facility opened in eastern Manitoba last year in the RM of Hanover, Vielfaure said.
The feed mill is part of HyLife’s ongoing expansion. In October 2016, the company announced $125 million in investment, starting with a 130,000-square-foot expansion of its Neepawa processing plant.
“With that, we needed more pigs, so we also are building the feed mill out of western Manitoba and then we plan to build some pig barns to also be able to bring more pigs to our plant,” Vielfaure said.
At the time of the 2016 announcement, Vielfaure said the expansion would increase technological sophistication of the plant and address growing congestion concerns. Work has since begun on the project, which is expected to be complete in March 2018. HyLife is also exploring potential locations for its new barns, although Vielfaure said no decisions have been made.
“We’re defining the location right now,” he said. “We’re working hard on that and trying, obviously, to find the best location to build these barns.”
The mill will be the company’s sixth. The aggressive expansion has been welcomed by the Manitoba Pork Council.
“We’re very pleased that one of our members is excited to make a very significant investment in the industry and it’s encouraging to others,” Andrew Dickson, Manitoba Pork Council’s general manager said. “It shows they’re prepared to put their money where their mouth is and invest in the industry and we’ve got other producers coming to us and wanting to do the same thing and so we’re pleased that this is happening in western Manitoba. Local producers in the area should be pleased that there is going to be a major user of feed grains that is going to be opening up a new plant and it will be a big benefit to western Manitoba.”
The expansion will likely also mean increased revenue for the council, which earns an 80-cent levy for every pig finished in the province. Dickson has said that any additional money would be spent in accordance to the Manitoba Pork Council marketing plan.
“The marketing plan that is approved by the province is very specific about where we spend our money and that includes spending money on developing the industry, supporting initiatives that would enhance the development of the industry, supporting research and promotion of the product,” he said.
Pauls said that three area residents attended the public hearing April 19 for clarification on the project, but offered no objections at the time of the vote.