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Innovative food processors get funding kick-starts

Growing Forward 2 funding aims to help this province’s unique processors 
and agribusinesses grow, says provincial agriculture minister

man speaking at microphone

A small on-farm processor hoping to start selling milk in old-fashioned recyclable glass bottles is one of seven companies to receive Growing Forward 2 funding supporting investments in made-in-Manitoba food products.

Dairy farmers Jim and Angie Appleby, who farm with Jim’s family near Steinbach are developing an on-farm micro-creamery to pasteurize and bottle milk and yogurt products produced from the farm’s organically managed herd.

“The stage we’re at right now is just learning to make a really, really good pure product,” said Jim Appleby in an interview just before Christmas.

The owners of Stoney Brook Creamery intend to use their $15,000 portion from the Growing Forward 2’s Growing Value – Commercialization program to finish equipping their farm-based business and are awaiting final approvals from health inspectors to start operations.

Ash Apiaries Ltd. in Gilbert Plains is another firm receiving $36,000 through the program to develop and commercialize a line of energy beverages, plus another $50,000 to purchase equipment for affixing labels and seals on product packages.

Honey beverage

The family-owned company is the second-largest honey processor in Manitoba, with over 8,000 bee colonies and is currently producing liquid honey, creamed honey and flavoured honey spreads.

This funding will help complete projects they otherwise couldn’t pursue on their own, said Brent Ash, co-owner of Ash Apiaries, in a news release.

“The idea behind the beverage project is to produce a refreshing drink that provides an energy boost using honey as the sweetener. There is currently very little honey being used in beverage manufacturing so if this drink takes off, it will be good for the honey industry as a whole.”

A total of $369,500 is being shared between the seven recipient processors to be used for equipment purchases, product development, market research and other productivity improvements.

Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Minister Ron Kostyshyn jointly announced the funding late last month saying these cash infusions will help spur business development and diversify the agricultural sector in Manitoba.

“There are many unique processors and agribusinesses throughout Manitoba, growing, designing and selling a wide range of products,” said Kostyshyn in a news release.

“Strategic investments like these create growth, new jobs and a diverse agricultural sector.”

Buttery

Other projects getting funding include Notre Dame Creamery Ltd. in Notre Dame de Lourdes, which is getting $60,000 to purchase a printer to package smaller butter portions and create new flavoured products.

Red River Milling Inc. in Niverville is receiving $100,000 to add a pneumatic conveyance to its hemp-processing facility to boost efficiency, food safety and quality.

Cavalier Candies Ltd. in Winnipeg is receiving $50,000 to purchase new equipment to wrap and seal its candies and $16,000 will go to Red Dog Enterprises Ltd. in Swan River to help commercialize compounds for use in human health supplements and animal feed. The company has since 2011 been exploring the properties and potential health benefits of the red osier dogwood, a hardy shrub found in many regions of Canada.

The Winnipeg Old Country Sausage Ltd. is getting $42,500 to upgrade its facility’s hot water, shipping, holding and cooling areas.

Government funding can represent up to half of the cost of each project, to a maximum of $100,000. In total, these projects are expected to create 19 new jobs plus an additional 18 jobs in three years.

Manitoba’s goal is to establish a value-added food industry worth $5 billion within the next five years.

Value-added agricultural industries are eligible to apply to the program, including food processing and biofibre production companies.

For more information about this program or the Food Development Centre, visit the Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development website.

About the author

Reporter

Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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