The CMIT will help Canadian processors collaborate, find and adopt new technology and innovation.
By Andrew Joseph, Farms.com
A new Centre for Meat Innovation and Technology (CMIT) has been launched by Meat and Poultry Ontario (MPO) to help Canadian processors collaborate, find and adopt new technology and innovation and make it easier for their employees to learn and advance their skills.
The Centre, located in Guelph, Ontario, is the only Canadian meat processing hub that brings together skills development, knowledge, collaboration, technology, innovation and research to make meat processing industry more successful.
“This Centre will ultimately help both processors and meat and poultry producers,” said Luis Garcia, the Director of the CMIT. “We did our research and both processors and farmers told us there was significant room for them to grow if some of the key barriers holding them back could be addressed.”
One example is that processors have difficulty finding good employees with the specific skills they need. CMIT has been created to help address that gap.
Garcia pointed to micro-credentialing courses already held for sausage making and other in-demand skills, with more being planned.
Another challenge for processors is often finding and testing the latest technology to see if it would be a fit for their operations. By collaborating with experts and manufacturers around the world, CMIT will help processors find and access solutions that will improve their operations and efficiency.
The equipment can then be set up and tested through CMIT’s collaboration with the University of Guelph’s federally-inspected meat processing facility.
“The Centre for Meat Innovation and Technology is an example of how our agri-food advocacy groups are highlighting the valuable career opportunities available in Ontario’s agri-food sector,” said Lisa Thompson, provincial Minister of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). “I would like to express my appreciation to the organizations who have donated the new equipment for this facility, and to Meat and Poultry Ontario for making this Centre a welcomed reality.”
MPO represents Ontario’s meat industry - its members are independent businesses proud to serve the communities they live and work in. The association is comprised of meat and poultry processors, wholesalers, and retailers; industry suppliers; and not-for-profit organizations that support MPO’s objectives.
Kevin Stemmler, owner of Stemmler Meats in Heidelberg, Ontario, and a strong supporter of CMIT and the organization’s mandate added: “Young people need to see meat processing as a viable career and the best way to do that is through education.”
Stemmler has a second reason for his support. “During the pandemic, we relied too much on a few companies to support our internal food system and we had issues. To protect the food system in the future, we need to be able to rely on more companies, so we need to help them with skills and technology. That’s what CMIT will do.”
CMIT has a plan to be self-sustaining within the next five years by building fees for services and is launching a campaign to raise $1-million to cover initial operations costs as revenue streams grow. Initial work and projects are already underway.
More information is available at www.cmit.ca.