Manitoba

$94M oat mill to be built in Manitoba with help from province

Paterson GlobalFoods announced Thursday it's about to start construction on a new $94-million oat processing facility just outside of Winnipeg thanks to tax incentives from the province.

Paterson GlobalFoods will get tax-increment financing, Premier Brian Pallister says

Premier Brian Pallister shakes hands with Andrew Paterson, the president and CEO of Paterson GlobalFoods, after announcing the company's plan for a new oat mill near Winnipeg on Thursday. (Jaison Empson/CBC)

Paterson GlobalFoods is about to start construction of a new $94-million oat processing facility just outside Winnipeg thanks to tax incentives from the province, the Manitoba-based business announced Thursday.

President Andrew Paterson announced the construction of the mill, which will be known as O Foods Ltd., will start this winter in the rural municipality of Rosser.

"The O Foods mill, when competed, will process up to 250,000 metric tonnes of premium quality oats, produced by quality growers who now have an additional outlet for marketing their products," he said.

"I don't know of a single farmer that doesn't like more options."

Premier Brian Pallister spoke at the public announcement and said this investment in agriculture is also an investment in the province.

"When Manitoba has a good farm year, then Manitoba has a good year. What's good for the farmer is good for the province of Manitoba," he said.

Incentivizing investment in Manitoba

Pallister said the province is supporting the company's move through tax-increment financing, a funding mechanism that uses future tax revenue to stimulate development. The government will help with infrastructure, he also said, but he didn't specify how.

"These are ways for us to encourage and incent investments here," he said.

The premier wouldn't put dollar amounts on the arrangement.

Paterson told CBC News the company would have built the new facility in North Dakota, where it already has a plant, if it wasn't for the arrangement with the province.

"I felt a duty as a citizen of the province of Manitoba — we have operations all over Canada — to give Manitoba the opportunity to have this particular plant," he said.

Paterson said he approached the government about the tax agreement.

Just ahead of the provincial election last month, the Conference Board of Canada slashed its economic growth forecast for Manitoba by two-thirds.

It cited trade tensions with China, slow growth in consumer spending and reduced infrastructure spending as factors weighing on Manitoba's economic growth.

Pallister said the oat processing facility would lead to 70 jobs in the province, and would mean people wouldn't need to leave to find work.

People like his own daughter.

"When your family has to leave to go somewhere else to get a job, it isn't so satisfying to a father. We just said goodbye to our two daughters out of our house. One of them left the province. I'm not happy about it. I know we can't nail our kids' feet to the floor," Pallister said.

"What is really especially rewarding is when we can find careers here for our young people and keep our families together in this beautiful part of the world."

Paterson said there might be more jobs, though they won't all be permanent; a number are temporary construction jobs.

With files from Austin Grabish

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