Federal government investing in Manitoba agriculture

Jan 13, 2016

Hemp and poultry processing facilities receive funding

By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, International Content

Two joint projects between the federal government and Manitoba’s provincial government are designed to help improve the province’s agricultural industry.

One project is an investment of more than $125,000 in new equipment to help a local hemp processor turn hemp straw into absorbent pellets used for kitty litter.

The kitty litter market is estimated to be worth $2.6 billion in North America.

Hemp straw’s ability to absorb nearly five times its weight in water makes it a viable source for litter. Hemp pellets may also be used to clean up oil and other chemical spills.

The prospect of new uses for hemp can make it an even more valuable crop for farmers.

“This type of innovation will not only help farmers find new markets for their crops, it will contribute to environmental sustainability, while strengthening our rural Canadian economy," said Minister of Agriculture Lawrence MacAulay.

According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, there were 4,684 hectares licensed for hemp cultivation in 2007 across the country – Manitoba was responsible for 1,728 acres.

In 2007, Canada exported 876 tonnes worth of hemp, worth more than $3.4 million.

The other project between the Canadian and Manitoba governments is a $2.5 million investment to expand a poultry processing company.

The investment into Granny’s Poultry, one of the province’s largest food processors, is part of the company’s $37 million plant expansion that will be used to purchase new equipment and improve production.

Ron Kostyshyn, Manitoba Minister of Agriculture, said investing in local agribusinesses helps provide work for Manitobans and sets the company up for future success.

The investments into Manitoba agriculture come on the heels of the installation of 17 new automated weather stations in 2015, bringing the total number to 61 with a hope of increasing to 84 by 2018.

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