CANADA - Alberta's cheese industry is set to see its first major expansion in decades -bringing an opportunity for Alberta milk producers to increase their yearly revenue by a potential C$15 million.
Thanks to a joint federal-provincial program, cheese producer Agropur will receive a C$2.4 million grant toward its C$23-million expansion and automation of their Sunnyrose cheese plant in Diamond City in southern Alberta. The expansion will nearly double the production capacity of the existing plant and increase Agropur's product selection of cheeses. The Growing Forward grant will be distributed over two-years and was approved through the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA).
"By investing in the expansion of the Sunnyrose cheese plant, the Government of Canada is supporting the continued growth of Alberta's dairy industry and its value-added markets," said federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. "Strategic investments like this are helping to build a competitive and innovative agricultural industry that benefits Alberta and all Canadians."
"Alberta milk producers will benefit as Agropur pursues new business opportunities and becomes more competitive in the specialty cheese category," said Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Jack Hayden. "Initiatives like these are important in helping us further strengthen Alberta's diverse agriculture industry."
"Agropur invests continuously in its plants in order to maintain its growth and meet consumer needs," stated Louis Lefebvre, President of the Agropur Cheese and Functional Products Division. "The Diamond City investment, one of Agropur's largest in Canada in recent years in the cheese-making sector, will enable us to increase our production capacity in an area where milk is readily available."
"This project will be of tremendous benefit to Alberta milk producers as it increases the demand for Alberta milk products," says Gordon Cove, President and CEO, ALMA. "ALMA's partnership with Agropur confirms our commitment to furthering Alberta's livestock and meat industry."
Agropur Cooperative is a Canadian dairy industry leader with 5,225 employees and C$3.4 billion in sales. They process close to 3.2 billion litres of milk annually and offer an impressive array of products, including such popular brands as Canadian Reserve, Sealtest, Natrel, Yoplait, Oka, Island Farms, La Lacteo, Trega and Schroeder.
Growing Forward is a federal-provincial-territorial initiative that better positions the agriculture industry for success. The national vision is "a profitable and innovative agriculture, agri-food and agri-products industry that seizes opportunities in responding to market demands, and contributes to the health and well-being of Canadians."
The Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency contributes ideas, information and investment as it works with industry partners towards achieving the goal of a sustainable, profitable and internationally respected livestock and meat industry.
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