Wallaceburg Free Press
September 3 2020
Three Lambton and Chatham-Kent companies are receiving over $185,000 in senior government funding for projects that will go toward improving food safety, increasing labour productivity and enabling better access to markets.
The funding for the local companies comes from the federal and provincial governments. They are spending over $5.4 million for more than 75 projects across Ontario through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.
An Ontario government news release said the projects will “strengthen the province’s crucial agri-food supply chain.”
To qualify for the funding, the projects had to include improving food safety with technology; enhancing production through automated and advanced manufacturing or robotic processing; and developing new products or processes to increase sales.
Refined Fool Brewing Company in Sarnia and Jacob MacKellar Farms Ltd. from Lambton and John O’s Foods Inc. in Wheatley are the local companies receiving the joint government funding.
Refined Fool will get up to $50,000 for marketing activities to develop and build brand awareness. Jacob MacKellar Farms is receiving up to around $10,450 to buy and install an advanced washing system for pumpkin seed processing, which will replace the current method that’s unable to recover some of the wash water and requires a significant amount of labour to handle wastewater.
Jacob MacKellar Farms will also get up to $50,000 to hire third party businesses in order to “implement a marketing plan, attend tradeshows and undertake product demonstrations to help enter new markets and expand sales in Canada.”
John O’s Foods’project will get up to $75,000 to do an export marketing plan that will promote whitefish sales in Michigan and Minnesota, through trade shows, in order to diversify revenue sources and increase competitiveness.
MP Neil Ellis, who is the parliamentary secretary to the federal minister of agriculture and agrifood, said the government spending “ensure” that the food supply chain remains competitive for years to come.
“This is about serving our communities from both levels of government, helping to give a boost to our local food businesses and address some of the challenges around labour we are seeing right now,” said Ellis.
MPP Ernie Hardeman, Ontario minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, said food processors are an “integral” part of the province’s economic pandemic recovery.
“By investing in this sector, we are helping our homegrown processors become more competitive, more innovative and better positioned to keep supplying safe, quality foods for domestic and international markets” Hardeman said.
The over 75 projects chosen applied for funding last November.
The news release said the partnership is also investing in Ontario meat and dairy processors to support food safety enhancement projects.