SAM OOSTERHOFF, MPP FOR NIAGARA WEST
The Ontario government is investing up to $25 million in fifteen innovative projects through the Strategic Agri-Food Processing Fund to expand food-processing capacity in the province and strengthen food supply.
Through the Strategic Agri-Food Processing Fund, Highland Ridge in Smithville is receiving up to $1.7 million to increase meat processing capacity. The project includes construction of a 17,932 square foot facility in West Lincoln and installation of meat processing equipment, including slicers, scales, metal detectors, smokehouse, grinders and mixers.
"As a leading meat processor in Southern Ontario, Highland Ridge is a model of innovation and economic growth in our region," said Sam Oosterhoff, MPP for Niagara West.
"I congratulate the de Jonge family and the hardworking team at Highland Ridge as they expand their growing operation in Smithville."
"As a division of Highland Packers in Stoney Creek, the new Highland Ridge facility in Smithville will provide our growing operation with the space needed to continue producing our naturally smoked and ready to eat meat products," said Marinus de Jonge, President of Highland Packers.
"This project, funded in part by the Strategic Agri-Food Processing Fund, helps increase our production capacity and we are thankful for this opportunity."
"With help from the Strategic Agri-Food Processing Fund, this high-impact project will facilitate further growth in Ontario's food-processing industry, increasing processing capacity to benefit the entire supply chain," said Hon. Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
"It's through investments such as this that our government is creating the conditions for our agri-food industry to flourish in the domestic and international markets."
The Strategic Agri-Food Processing Fund supports the priorities under the Grow Ontario Strategy, including promoting Ontario-made food products, increasing international exports, cultivating talent within the agri-food workforce, and strengthening the province's food supply. The program included a focus on strategic investments that benefit supply chains, address processing shortages and contribute to supply stability.
- Ontario's agri-food sector supported more than 750,000 jobs and contributed $47.6 billion to the provincial economy in 2021. The sector generates $19.6 billion a year in agri-food exports alone.
- Ontario's food and beverage manufacturing sector is one of the largest in North America, comprising 4,675 businesses.