Agriculture Support Boosts Thunder Bay Economy
THUNDER BAY – “The agricultural community is a large employer and a significant part of the economy of my riding of Thunder Bay-Atikokan. Local food and food security are becoming increasingly important to people. This investment is consistent with the Local Food Act introduced by our government last year, and is another example of our recognition of the importance of family farming and local agricultural production,”stated Bill Mauro, MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan.
With $403,000 support of the agriculture sector from the province’s NOHFC, Walter and Joanne Schep of Thunder Oak Cheese Farm are able to relocate and expand their cheese manufacturing facility in Neebing, Ontario. The funds will be used to build a new 6,000 square foot plant with upgrades to the cheese manufacturing equipment. The plans include an on-site retail operation.
Provincial support in the amount of $410,682 has allowed Woodstar Farm in Murillo, Ontario to construct a new barn to house the dairy herd. Woodstar Farm owners, Peggy & Gert Brekveld, will be able to grow their herd of milking cows from 58 up to 90 head, which represents an expansion of 55%. The facility is built with a focus on cow comfort and is more worker-friendly than the original barn.
“I am very pleased that our government continues to make investments that are creating new jobs and improving the lives of countless families and businesses across Northern Ontario. I’m thrilled that the NOHFC was able to support these two expansion projects in the Thunder Bay region and I’d like to extend my best wishes to all of the proponents,” shared Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines and Chair of the NOHFC.
“As a growing business, Thunder Oak Cheese would like to thank the NOHFC for their support in the expansion of our cheese-making facilities. This funding has allowed us to build a larger plant with an expanded retail store. As a result, we are able to produce more Gouda cheese, employ more staff and showcase locally produced products,” stated Walter & Joanne Schep, Owners, Thunder Oak Cheese Farm.
Investing in northern businesses is an important part of the Ontario government’s Growth Plan for Northern Ontario. A strong northern economy will help create a better Ontario, and will give the people of Northern Ontario more opportunities for jobs and economic prosperity.
“There are often hurdles as you transition and grow your business. For our farm, we needed to build a new barn. Funding through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund has helped us do this sooner than we could have otherwise. We are thankful to NOHFC for their part in moving our family farm business ahead, and we invite the public to come and see our new barn on Saturday, October 11th, from 11am-3pm, at 10248 John Street Road, Murillo,” said Peggy & Gert Brekveld, Owners, Woodstar Farm.