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Southwestern Ont. pork packer to boost capacity

A southwestern Ontario hog farmers’ co-op plans to dial up its pork plant’s processing capacity by a third through extra cooler space and new refrigeration equipment.

Conestoga Meat Packers, based at Breslau, just east of Kitchener, expects to create 100 new jobs through the expansion, backed in part by a provincial grant.

The expansion “supports the next phase in the ongoing development of Conestoga Meat Packers,” company president Arnold Drung said in the province’s release Tuesday.

The province will put up $1.5 million through the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund, which was set up last fall.

Eric Hoskins, the province’s economic development minister, noted Conestoga is “a major employer in the Kitchener-Waterloo region and plays a vital role in connecting Ontario farmers with markets for their products both here at home and abroad.”

Conestoga, a federally-inspected facility, processes pork for the domestic retail and foodservice markets and for export to about 30 countries including Japan, Korea, the U.S. and Russia. About a third of its production is exported, the province noted.

The Breslau plant, which can process about 14,000 hogs per week, got $350,000 from the province’s Rural Economic Development Fund in 2010 to set up new deboning and packaging systems.

The company also got a $2.3 million loan in 2009 from the federal Slaughter Improvement Program for other value-added processing renovations.

Conestoga — owned by Progressive Pork Producers, a co-op of about 120 hog farms in southern Ontario — has operated at Breslau since 1982. — Network

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