Ottawa to back P+H’s Hamilton flour mill

Winnipeg agrifood firm Parrish and Heimbecker has lined up more government financing for its planned new flour mill at Hamilton, this time from the federal level.

Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay on Thursday announced a $10 million “repayable investment” in the project from the AgriInnovation program, part of the Growing Forward 2 ag policy funding framework.

AgriInnovation is meant to back research and development work into new products, processes and practices for the ag and agrifood sectors, as well as projects to help commercialize those new developments. The program runs through to the end of March 2018.

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At Hamilton, the program will help fund “exciting new technologies that will improve consumer confidence in wheat products,” MacAulay said.

P+H’s new “state-of-the-art” plant, the government said, will have a built-in traceability feature that’s expected to help the company identify specific product batches in case of a product recall.

The company also plans to use “the latest” technology in wheat cleaning, “to improve food safety by doing a better job of removing impurities before milling.”

Already Ontario’s biggest and Canada’s second-biggest flour miller by capacity, P+H expects to quadruple its wheat procurement from producers and add 16 full-time jobs with the new mill, the government said.

The company last December picked up a $5 million investment for the mill project from Ontario’s Food and Beverage Growth Fund. P+H itself is investing $40 million to build the mill, near its existing twin-domed grain terminal at Hamilton’s Pier 10.

The province said at that time the expansion of P+H’s Hamilton site is expected to allow the company to process 25 per cent more grain and boost its annual intake of Ontario wheat by more than 10 per cent.

The company already operates Ontario flour mills at Cambridge, Acton and Hanover, plus mills at Montreal, Halifax, Lethbridge and Saskatoon.

The company’s product lines include hard red spring wheat flour for breads, soft winter wheat flour for cakes and cookies, semolina for pasta, organic flour, rye flour and atta flour for chappati. Its Parrheim plant at Saskatoon also mills pea fractions and barley beta-glucan.

Derek Jamieson, president of P+H’s milling group, said in Thursday’s release the federal funds will support his group’s “ongoing commitment to food safety, innovation, productivity and quality” and help it “to continue to grow with our customers and support the sustainable growth of the baking industry in Canada.”

Local MP Bob Bratina said the company’s project “adds to our remarkable agricultural sector and provides the kind of development cities require for sustainable, recession-proof economies.” — AGCanada.com Network

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