July 26, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Today, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced that Agrilait S.E.C. in Saint-Guillaume, Quebec, will receive up to $859,833 through the Dairy Processing Investment Fund. This investment will help the company increase cheese production at Fromagerie St-Guillaume, reduce its production costs and, ultimately, strengthen food security.
The government’s investment will help install automated equipment, including an ultrafiltration system and milk separation system. This equipment will allow Fromagerie St-Guillaume to recover by-products of the cheese-making process and incorporate them into different products, which will reduce losses and increase productivity. The funding is expected to ensure that the plant’s processing capacity increases by 35 per cent a year.
Agrilait S.E.C., a joint venture between Agiska Cooperative and milk producers, owns two cheese factories and transforms over 40,000,000 litres of milk per year into about 20 different cheeses for domestic markets.
The $100-million Dairy Processing Investment Fund was created to help Canadian dairy processors modernize their businesses and improve their productivity and competitiveness. The fund has supported dairy processors in adapting to market changes resulting from the implementation of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
Dairy processors play a large role in their local, provincial, and Canadian economies. By investing in innovative technology to increase production, the Government of Canada is positioning the dairy sector for continued growth and supporting the supply of dairy products to consumers.
Dairy producers and processors generate $24 billion in sales annually, including $8 billion in Quebec.
“Our cheese factories are often a part of their region’s identity and generate a feeling of great pride. By processing milk from local producers, they are contributing to their community’s food self-sufficiency and vitality. Our government will therefore continue to invest with them to make them more competitive and contribute to their sustainability.”
– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“With the money provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, we were able to buy state-of-the-art equipment that will increase our capacity to process milk from farms and will enable us to develop a new line of products. These investments will secure our company’s future development and generate significant economic benefits for our region.”
– Jean Brodeur, General Manager, Agrilait S.E.C.
The five-year Dairy Processing Investment Fund has helped 105 processors modernize and continue to grow. The application intake period for the Dairy Processing Investment Fund is now closed. The Government of Canada continues to help processors in supply managed sectors modernize through the six-year, $292-million Supply Management Processing Investment Fund announced in 2022.
There are 9,952 dairy farms in Canada supporting over 45,000 direct jobs.
The demand for Canadian dairy remains strong and has led to a 6 per cent increase in raw milk production in the last five years, with over $7.4 billion in farm cash receipts in 2021.
There are over 500 dairy processors in Canada. In total, they generated close to $16 billion in sales in 2020, and they support more than 27,000 direct jobs.