by SUSAN MANN
A Dashwood area turkey processor expects to triple sales thanks to an almost $350,000 grant from the Ontario government.
Hayter’s Turkey Products Inc. is using the money from the government’s Rural Economic Development program to renovate its existing facility to improve production capacity, relocate its retail store to a different spot in the building and establish a test kitchen to develop new, healthy turkey products.
The improvements are expected to help triple sales, create up to six jobs and retain more than 60 positions.
Sean Maguire, Hayter’s IT and sales manager, says they started renovations before Christmas. They’re adding on to the front of the building so there will be more room in the back. “We’ve done the actual physical cutting down of walls and making doorways.”
Maguire says they applied for the grant in June, 2010 and were informed before Christmas by Agriculture Minister Carol Mitchell their application was approved. They were pleased and surprised when she called with the news. “Because it was six months later we kind of put it on the back burner and kind of forgot about it until all of a sudden we got this phone call.”
The idea behind the renovations is to improve production flow so meat will come in one way and be processed evenly through the building instead of going back and forth all the time, he says. “The less handling and the smoother the flow is the higher our output is.”
Hayter’s will also be getting new equipment and upgrading some machinery that will enable it to process larger batch sizes and have faster and increased product output.
Hayter’s produces whole turkeys, turkey parts, and further processed items, such as sausages and burgers, for markets in London, Kitchener and Longo’s in Toronto. They also do custom processing for other turkey producers.
“These upgrades are allowing us to produce a ready-to-cook, case-ready product.” Maguire explains.
Since 2003, the government has funded 311 projects with more than $120 million through the Rural Economic Development program. That’s generated more than $1 billion in new economic activity, it says in an agriculture ministry press release. BF