Funding boosts agricultural processors

Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett (right) discusses robotic packing improvements at the Norfolk Fruit Growers' processing facility in Simcoe with manager Tom O'Neill. Monte Sonnenberg/Delhi News Record jpg, DN

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Several local businesses have received financial support under the $6.8-million Canadian Agricultural Partnership program in Ontario.

Norfolk Fruit Growers – owners of The Apple Place in Simcoe – has been awarded $117,300 for the installation of robotic packaging equipment.

Pristine Gourmet of Villa Nova has received $68,400 toward value-added processing of pumpkin seed. In Simcoe, R. Fiedler Meat Products has received $57,600 for refrigeration system upgrades.

The Ontario government allocated the funds on a cost-shared basis. The $6.8 million awarded to more than 100 projects across the province will help leverage investments worth $29 million.

“This is good news for our area and I know the recipients are pleased as this allows them to make meaningful investments in their operations,” local MPP Toby Barrett said in a news release.

“The Ontario government recognizes the contributions agri-business makes to the provincial economy through employment and an offering of the highest quality foods.”

Under the program, priority was given to applications that promoted food safety, labour productivity, and waste reduction.

“Our government is committed to making our agricultural and agri-food sector open for business,” Ontario agriculture minister Ernie Hardeman said in the same release.

“Investing in these projects will help our farmers succeed while boosting innovation, productivity and competitiveness for the entire sector.”