The governments of Canada and Manitoba will support the expansion of a producer-owned poultry processing company in Blumenort, Manitoba, with CA$2.5 million (US$1.75 million) in funding, announced Dr. Doug Eyolfson, member of Canada’s parliament.

Granny’s Poultry distributes fresh and frozen Manitoba chicken and turkey across the country, and is one of the largest food processors in the province. The company is implementing a CA$37 million plant expansion and renovation, which will allow Granny’s Poultry to grow its business and purchase new equipment for processing, chilling, packaging and grading poultry, and improving production efficiency.

"The expansion and upgrading of our processing facilities will keep Granny's growing and competitive for years to come. Investing in state-of-the-art equipment will improve production efficiencies and help us develop new market opportunities for Manitoba poultry," said Craig Evans, CEO of Granny’s Poultry.

This investment also supports the Manitoba government's goal of creating a CA$5.5 billion annual food processing industry by 2022, which is currently valued at CA$4.95 billion.

Granny's Poultry currently represents 188 producer-member owners who supply the company with hatching eggs, chickens and turkeys. The company is the sole processor of turkeys in the province and employs approximately 500 Manitobans, supporting the livelihood of poultry producers, breeders and hatcheries, according to a press release from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

"The Government of Canada is pleased to support the growth of Manitoba's agriculture industry. This investment will create new opportunities for poultry producers and processors to expand their markets and help grow the economy," said Eyolfson.

The expanded facility will provide an opportunity for up to 148 employees to upgrade their skills over the next two years through new training. The department of Jobs and the Economy will further assist the plant upgrading through the provision of a secured, repayable Manitoba Industrial Opportunities Program (MIOP) term loan of $2.5 million. The MIOP program provides term loans to assist expanding businesses in Manitoba.

The federal and provincial governments are investing CA$176 million of cost-shared programming in Manitoba under Growing Forward 2, a five-year, federal-provincial-territorial policy framework to advance the agriculture industry, helping producers and processors become more innovative and competitive in world markets.

The Growing Value program provides financial assistance to existing agri-businesses that need to make changes to adapt to market forces and environmental considerations, to increase their ability to compete in domestic and international markets.