The Westman Opportunities Leadership Group’s (WOLG) efforts to attract a world-class soybean processing plant to Manitoba gained more momentum with a funding commitment from the Dennis County Development Partnership (DCDP), a regional partnership that includes the RM of Wallace-Woodworth, the RM of Pipestone and the Town of Virden.
The DCDP was formed to investigate and attract development opportunities on a regional basis. “We are very pleased to see that the Dennis County Partnership has joined our initiative,” stated Ray Redfern, Chair of the Leadership Group. “Their financial support and participation on our Board adds significant weight and momentum to our efforts, and emphasizes the fact that we are working on behalf of a wide number of communities to attract a soybean facility to Manitoba.”
“The timing is right to look at processing soybeans here in Manitoba” stated Redfern. “Nearly three million acres of soybeans are expected to be planted across Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan in 2017, a significant increase over 2016 levels.”
The benefits and economic synergies are significant. Soymeal is an important component of most hog rations, and the region produces many hogs for the Maple Leaf Foods and HyLife Foods facilities, with more growth anticipated.
“Today Manitoba imports significant amounts of soybean meal” stated Redfern. “A plant could reduce feed ration costs and boost the local hog industry. This is an added benefit to anticipated gains that farmers would receive from having a local market for their soybeans.”
“The Dennis County Development Partnership is looking forward to working with the Leadership Group to attract a global company to construct a soybean processing facility, and are pleased to provide financial support to help make this happen,” stated James Watt, the Partnership’s designate. “Real benefits will be seen with an investment of this scale. We see the opportunity that a soybean plant can bring, and want to ensure our region is well represented in the attraction process. The Leadership Group’s strategic approach to investment attraction makes sense and brings together the regions strengths, knowledge and passion, increasing the likelihood of success. There is a real opportunity to see a plant like this come to our area, and working through this process is the best way to make that happen.”
Beginning in the fall of 2016 the WOLG began assessing the soybean opportunity for Manitoba. Work confirmed the scope of the opportunity and is building a base of support throughout the Region.
“We have established an important long-term relationship with Brandon University to help deliver the project and bring their wide network of experts to the validation process. Discussions also continue with other regional governments to confirm their participation and support,” stated Redfern. “We will be formalizing discussions with the Province to do the same. We are a volunteer, grassroots organization, and are not looking to build a plant – we want to attract the right private sector investment to do that, based upon the economic merits of the industry and the Region.”
- Brandon University
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