N.S. backs former pork plant for poultry processing

A former Maple Leaf pork plant in Nova Scotia will get a seven-figure investment from the province’s government toward its full overhaul as a poultry processor.

Eden Valley Poultry, co-owned by poultry packer Maple Lodge Farms and by United Poultry Producers, a group of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island farmers, will get $1 million from the province’s Productivity Investment Program (PIP).

The PIP capital investment, announced Thursday, will go toward the purchase of "leading-edge" equipment for the plant at Berwick, about 25 km west of Kentville.

The equipment is expected to help boost the plant’s planned chicken processing capacity by 40 per cent to 12,000 broilers per hour, and double turkey processing capacity to 2,500 per hour, the province said in a release.

Eden Valley’s partners have invested about $40 million to renovate the former Larsen Prepared Meats plant, which was built in 1991.

Eden Valley bought the plant for an undisclosed sum just as Maple Leaf Foods, the plant’s owner since 2000, prepared to shut it down in April last year.

The facility, now scheduled to reopen in June, is expected to employ up to 200 people as a poultry plant with capacity to process 40 million kilograms of meat per year.

The PIP is meant to help encourage Nova Scotia businesses to become "more productive, innovative and globally competitive" through capital investments and/or employee skills development.

Related stories:
N.S. meat plant to be retooled as poultry packer, April 1, 2011
Maple Leaf to shut N.S. prepared meats plant, Nov. 17, 2010

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