Local northern food processors are reaping the rewards of the Growing Forward 2 program.
The Growing Forward 2 initiative is a federal and provincial partnership that is aiming to provide up to $1.3 million to help northern Alberta food processors meet a growing demand.
Here in the Fort, Bunge Canada received about $280,000 through Growing Forward 2 to help upgrade its oilseed processing facility.
“Bunge has a strong footprint in Canada," explained Bunge Canada maintenance and reliability manager, Weston Kendall. "Thanks to the new equipment purchased through the Growing Forward 2 program, we made that footprint even stronger by improving the quality and efficiency of one of our plants.”
With a pet food plant in Morinville, Champion Petfoods received $288,990 for equipment and systems to increase productivity and reduce energy consumption.
“We are very grateful and proud of the ongoing partnership between the Alberta government and Champion Petfoods through the Growing Forward 2 program," said Frank Burdzy, president and Chief Executive Officer of Champion Petfoods. "With [Champion's] focus on using fresh regional ingredients, everything that we are able to partner with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry on has a positive impact on our regional agricultural community.”
Last year, food and beverage processing generated $14.6 billion in sales in Alberta and was the largest manufacturing employer in the province, accounting for more than 22,400 jobs.
By the end of the initiative in March 2018, it is expected that more than $406 million will have been invested in strategic programs for Alberta’s agricultural sector.