McCain french fry plant gets public funds for upgrades

(McCain Foods Ltd. photo)

CORRECTED, Jan. 13, 2016: The Manitoba and federal governments are dipping into an agribusiness support fund to cover half the cost of equipment upgrades for McCain Foods’ french fry plant in the province’s southwest.

Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay and provincial Agriculture Minister Ron Kostyshyn on Wednesday announced $380,000 from the Growing Value program for the McCain Foods plant at Carberry, about 50 km east of Brandon.

The upgrades are expected to reduce potato and canola oil waste by 900,000 pounds and 800,000 pounds per year, respectively, the governments said in a release.

The new equipment is also expected to allow the company to add 10 jobs to Carberry’s staff of about 220 over the next three years, they added.

“In order to stay competitive, it’s important to have equipment that runs efficiently, allowing maximum productivity and minimal waste,” plant manager Dean Melnic said in the same release.

The 53-year-old processing plant, which McCain has owned since 2004, handles about 430 million pounds of Manitoba potatoes per year, mostly for french fries.

“We export 80 per cent of the products we make at our plant, so investments in equipment help support our employees, local growers, and the surrounding communities.”

“Reducing waste and increasing efficiency will help ensure Manitoba-grown potatoes continue to be a top choice for processors and consumers,” Kostyshyn said in the same release. –– Network

CORRECTION, Jan. 13, 2016 — A previous version of this article, here online and in the Manitoba Co-operator (“McCain fry plant gets funds for upgrades,” Jan. 7, 2016, page 20) incorrectly described the $380,000 granted to McCain Foods for upgrades at its Carberry plant as coming from a federal/provincial program, Growing Value, that caps contributions at $100,000 per project.

The $100,000 limit is on a separate Growing Value program, the “commercialization” program. The funds for the McCain upgrades come from the Growing Value “transformation” program, which, according to the province, is for “major strategic investments” and is funded 50/50 by the federal and provincial governments.

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