The Newfoundland and Labrador government will put up almost half a million dollars for new feed manufacturing capacity on a major mink ranch in the Avalon region.
Viking Fur of Cavendish will get $495,000 through the province’s Agriculture and Agrifoods Development Fund (AADF) toward a $1.5 million project to increase feed kitchen and cold storage capacity, lower the cost of feed and set up boot-washing stations and perimeter fencing for improved biosecurity.
The expansion will also create four to five new full-time positions at the farm, the province said in a release Thursday.
The province said its recent fur feed study identified “insufficient capacity of feed kitchens” as a significant barrier that could impact the expansion of the province’s mink farming industry.
“The Avalon region does not have capacity to produce fresh/frozen ready-mix feed or sufficient cold storage to meet the needs of area farmers,” the province said. “This expansion at Viking Fur provides a source of locally-produced feed, reducing the transportation cost to farmers of importing feed.”
This funding is on top of a $195,000 term loan the company received from the province in 2007 through its Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprise (SME) Fund.
Viking Fur, which employs up to 50 people during its peak season, “has proven to be a stable enterprise and has developed a high level of expertise within an industry that has significant potential for continued growth,” Rural Development Minister Shawn Skinner said in the province’s release.
Newfoundland and Labrador’s fur farming sector projected $9 million in pelt sales for 2008 and employs 320 people in all, the province said.
The province last summer put up $5.4 million for mink farms to install biosecurity measures against Aleutian disease, a form of parvovirus that kills mink and also affects an infected animal’s coat. The disease made its way into the province’s wild mink population in late 2007.