Mink farm­ers look to ex­pand into Ar­gen­tia area

The Compass - - NEWS - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Peter Noer and Erik Dal­sager grew up on sep­a­rate mink farms in their home coun­try of Den­mark. In their youth, one fig­ures they would never have imag­ined set­ting up the same business on a small is­land in North Amer­ica.

But so they have, with Vik­ing Fur Inc. still go­ing strong after 12 years. The Cavendish-based op­er­a­tion can pro­duce up­wards of 75,000 pelts an­nu­ally.

The company is now look­ing to grow by con­struct­ing another farm in the Ar­gen­tia area.

The farm­ers will look to lease two pieces of land al­ready used for agri­cul­tural pur­poses. Cov­er­ing 165 hectares, the farm would start with 5,000 breed­ers and look to triple that amount within five years. Dal­sager, vice-pres­i­dent of Vik­ing Fur Inc., an­tic­i­pates that if ev­ery­thing goes as planned, the pro­posed farm could be ready to go in 2016.

The site on the Ar­gen­tia Ac­cess Road has been used for many years as a sheep farm. Vik­ing Fur ex­pects the new farm will cre­ate 20 new full-times jobs and 15 part-time po­si­tions. The Cavendish farm is cur­rently op­er­at­ing at its peak, with 85 peo­ple em­ployed to han­dle all stages in­volved in pro­duc­ing mink pelts.

As Noer sees it, the farm can­not grow on its ex­ist­ing prop­erty in Cavendish, which al­ready has 15,000 breed­ers and 21 barns.

“We maxed out here where we are, and we’d like to di­vert our farm out to another site as well where we can do the same,” he told The Com­pass fol­low­ing a thor­ough tour of the farm in Cavendish, where ap­prox­i­mately $10 mil­lion has been in­vested over the last 12 years. That fig­ure in­cludes $2.1 mil­lion spent in the last year on im­prov­ing the site’s waste man­age­ment sys­tem.

Vik­ing Fur has ex­pe­ri­enced some good years, although the cur­rent price for pelts is down con­sid­er­ably. The av­er­age price prod- uct at­tracts at auc­tions han­dled by North Amer­i­can Fur Auc­tions in Toronto nowa­days is be­tween $40 and $45 per pelt.

“We’ve seen pelts up to $100 a pelt,” Noer later added.

The price for pelts is heav­ily in­flu­enced by pro­duc­tion in China.

“They have been pump­ing out a lot of mink on the world’s mar­ket or their own home mar­ket, which slowed things down,” Noer, the company’s pres­i­dent, said.

Win­ter weather in China is another mat­ter im­pact­ing the price for pelts. Noer said if the coun­try ex­pe­ri­ences a harsh win­ter, gar­ments us­ing mink sell at a good rate.

Mink is used for coats, boots, fur­ni­ture and hats, amongst other con­sumer goods. Dal­sager notes that fash­ion trends and de­mand for spe­cific colours also fac­tor into pric­ing.

In Cavendish, Vik­ing Fur pro­duces pelts in seven colour va­ri­eties. Noer con­sid­ers white to be a tra­di­tion­ally at­trac­tive pelt for buy­ers, given it can be al­ter­na­tively dyed a dif­fer­ent colour.

The pro­posal for the Ar­gen­tia Ac­cess Road mink farm is now go­ing through the en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment process through the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Con­ser­va­tion. The dead­line for pub­lic com­ments is Dec. 31, and a decision from the min­is­ter is due by Jan. 3, 2015.

Pho­tos by An­drew Robin­son/The Com­pass

Vik­ing Fur Inc. pres­i­dent and co-owner Peter Noer hopes to ex­pand his mink farm op­er­a­tions in the near fu­ture. The company is propos­ing to set up a sec­ond farm on the Ar­gen­tia Ac­cess Road.

The mink farm in Caven­ish has 15,000 breed­ers that in a good year will pro­duce up­wards of 75,000 mink pelts.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.