‘The real deal’

Belle River soy plant wel­comes fed­eral gov­ern­ment in­vest­ment in re­search and in­no­va­tion

Journal Pioneer - - NEWS - BY DAVE STEWART

The At­lantic Soy Corp. plant in Belle River is hop­ing to dou­ble its pro­duc­tion by tap­ping into the lat­est va­ri­ety of oilseeds.

These oilseeds would be va­ri­eties best suited for grow­ing in Is­land soil and ones de­signed to meet the grow­ing de­mand of con­sumers in in­ter­na­tional mar­kets.

The Belle River plant got a big boost in this di­rec­tion on Fri­day when Cardi­gan MP and fed­eral Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Lawrence Ma­cAulay showed up to an­nounce his gov­ern­ment is in­vest­ing $3.7 mil­lion into the East­ern Canada Oilseeds Devel­op­ment Al­liance (ECODA).

There are 21 projects over­all and of these ac­tiv­i­ties, 10 projects worth $733,000 will be con­ducted in P.E.I.

“Soy­bean is the real deal here on P.E.I.,’’ said Mur­ray MacDon­ald, man­ager of the At­lantic Soy plant. “We just need to bring it to the next level like (they’ve done) with other sta­ble agri­cul­tural crops in P.E.I. over the years.’’ Soy­bean pro­duc­tion has more than tripled in P.E.I. be­tween 2008 and 2016, from be­tween 10,000 and 14,000 acres to close to 60,000 acres.

Ma­cAulay said it’s the fastest grow­ing agri­cul­tural mar­ket in east­ern Canada.

“I can tell you our soy­bean is cer­tainly sought af­ter in Ja­pan and Viet­nam. They want more,’’ the min­is­ter said. “It’ll be two years since the first ship­ment of soy­beans left our shores for China. I was just in China on one of the largest agri­cul­tural trade mis­sions along with Soy Canada, (and) the Chi­nese min­is­ter of agri­cul­ture made a point of telling me that he wants more soy.’’ Re­search and devel­op­ment is cur­rently tak­ing place at Agri­cul­ture Canada’s re­search fa­cil­ity in Har­ring­ton.

“Our team in Har­ring­ton (is) work­ing on new va­ri­eties of soy­beans, canola and peas that are adapted to our soil and our grow­ing sea­son,’’ Ma­cAulay said. (That in­cludes) dis­ease-re­sis­tant canola, us­ing oilseed in crop ro­ta­tion, de­vel­op­ing new hemp va­ri­eties and im­prov­ing soil health.’’

MacDon­ald said Is­land farm­ers are get­ting very good at grow­ing soy­beans but have to pro­duce what the mar­ket de­mands.

“With these new va­ri­eties, I think there is def­i­nitely go­ing to be more op­por­tu­ni­ties be­cause when we move into a higher level of where this prod­uct will go . . . it’ll be a dif­fer­ent mar­ket­ing level so, in re­turn, it should put more money in farm­ers’ pock­ets, which is what we need to sur­vive.’’

The one chal­lenge, MacDon­ald said, with open­ing new mar­kets, is the chal­lenge it presents in terms of pack­ag­ing the prod­uct. It’s cur­rently shipped in pa­per bags, tote bags and in bulk. “The com­pany I work for will sup­ply me with what I need to get this prod­uct to mar­ket,’’ MacDon­ald said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.