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Poultry producer investing $3 million in new barns

Group Westco, the New Brunswick poultry producer, is investing more than $3 million to build three new broiler-chicken barns near Arnaud, Man., to replace the company's aging Neepawa operations.

Group Westco, a large player in the New Brunswick market, acquired Neepawa Food Processors Ltd. from the late Oscar Grubert in 2006. It is the second-largest chicken producer in the province.

Ray St. Hilaire, Group Westco's Manitoba representative, said it is hoped construction of the new barns will begin this spring and become operational in late fall.

The Neepawa operations would be phased out gradually around the same time.

Because of automated technology, the new operation will probably need fewer than three employees to operate it. The new barns put the operation in much closer proximity to its supplier, Carleton Hatcheries in Grunthal, and to the Dun-Rite processing facility in Winnipeg.

Those two facilities were acquired by Sunrise Farms of B.C. in November 2012.

"You can see the synergies and economics at play," St. Hilaire said. "The Arnaud location is about a half-hour drive from the (Carleton) hatchery (in Grunthal). From Grunthal to Neepawa it is about a three-hour drive."

The three 52,800-square-foot broiler houses will hold 212,000 broiler chickens at a time and produce close to three million kilograms per year of broiler chickens with new chicks introduced approximately every seven weeks.

Wayne Hilz, executive director of Manitoba Chicken Producers, the farmer-run organization that oversees the supply management market in Manitoba, said the industry welcomes the new investment.

"Anything that makes our producers more efficient is a benefit to the industry," Hilz said. "We certainly have producers with older barns who have done an unbelievable job updating their operations. But any reinvestment is good for production efficiency."

Group Westco's operation is one of two in the province that were grandfathered to allow it to produce more than the current maximum amount of 1.4 million kilograms of broiler chickens per year.

According to the provincial quota regulations, Group Westco cannot produce more than it currently does in its Neepawa location.

Group Wescto's fully integrated operation in New Brunswick produces 51 per cent of that province's broiler chickens and 67 per cent of the turkeys.

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How about investing in FENCES and letting those chickens run around in a free range environment?
PLEASE STOP pumping them FULL of growth hormones, antibiotics, etc. because this is affecting the HEALTH of ALL Canadians in a VERY negative way.

Cdns. need to WAKE UP and DEMAND organic chicken, beef, etc.

We are all going to GET what we are willing to TOLERATE.

These chickens DESERVE to see the light of day, they DESERVE the exercise, the sunshine2runfree

Please do the consumers of Canada a huge health favor and PLEASE RAISE these chickens in a FREE RANGE environment.

Consumers, we have the POWER to NOT PURCHASE chickens that are raised in these unethical barns any longer!

We have the POWER to CHANGE this industry and get these producers to raise what WE WANT.

Otherwise, we have the POWER to BOYCOTT and REFUSE TO BUY chickens raised in these confined barns and spaces any longer.

Electorate and citizens w/in Canada, we possess ALL of the POWER!

What is it that you want?

IF you would like to see these changes made then we can put PRESSURE on these industries to MAKE these changes.

These decisions lie in OUR HANDS.

Many are purchasing bison meat now because at least the bison haven't been tainted with ALL of the chemicals which are being pumped into these other meats.

Some scientists are attributing the increase in FOOD ALLERGIES to ALL of the chemicals, growth hormones, antibiotics that are being pumped into our food, the increased use of insecticides, pesticides,etc.

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