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Ont. funds cheesemakers for wastewater holding tank

A southeastern Ontario dairy producers’ cheesemaking co-op has picked up provincial funding for new wastewater tanks.

The province, through its Rural Economic Development program, will kick in $187,000 toward a 45,000-litre wastewater holding tank and aerator for the Empire Cheese and Butter Co-op at Campbellford in Northumberland County, about 55 km east of Peterborough.

Empire Cheese said it will use the tank to contain its wastewater over the winter and spread the “nutrient-rich” waste on area farmland from spring through fall.

“Having the provincial support to improve our wastewater management process has been essential,” co-op general manager Jack Oliver said in the province’s release.

“With this investment, we can focus our energies on making quality local cheeses, knowing we’ve effectively and efficiently reduced our environmental impact.”

The farmer-directed co-operative, which dates back to the late 1870s, now employs over 20 people making cheddars, mozzarellas and various specialty cheeses.

The HACCP-registered company describes its cheesemaking process as “the traditional way,” using open-style vats.

The company’s products have won various awards, most recently a first place finish in November 2009 at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair for extra-mild cheddar (one to two months of age) and a grand champion award for Canadian variety cheese at the same show a year earlier.

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