People in the Northwest Territories will soon be able to buy eggs that are produced in the territory.
A new egg-grading facility opened in Hay River on Friday, which will allow Hay River Poultry Farms to market its eggs in the territory. The lack of a grading facility meant that, until now, the eggs produced by its 115,000 hens had to be graded and sold in British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba.
Hay River is the hub of the territory’s small agriculture industry. The town's incoming mayor, Andrew Cassidy, is the Executive director of the Territorial Farmers Association and General Manager of the Northwest Territories egg marketing board.
"I'm really excited about this, I think it's a positive step forward for the egg industry and is really positive for our community as well," Cassidy said. "We're going to be able to have made-in-the-Northwest Territories eggs on store shelves in the North before too too long."
The territorial Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment -- who is more used to dealing with oil and gas executives than farmers -- was on hand to help open the new egg-grading facility.
"Agriculture has a place in our economy," said David Ramsay. "We want to diversify our economy so if folks have good ideas, we're interested and we'd be more than happy to work with people to get their ideas advanced to a stage where they can produce and supply local markets here in the NWT."
Once up to full production, Hay River Poultry Farms will produce about thirty million eggs annually. It will continue to sell them in southern markets as well as the north.
"We're going to start in the south slave region and potentially the Yellowknife market first," said manager Kevin Wallington. "We want to make sure that our people are trained and that our machines are working properly before we go out too far."