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A story on the front page of the Regional Country News today about puts it over the top with regard to burdensome regs. on slaughter and meat processing plants. The ridiculous standards imposed on this highly important segment of the farm business infrastructure are beyond bizarre.

When these small facilities are gone, they usually do not come back. Without them, small enterprises like mine might as well shut the door because in the recent years our only positive cash flow comes from our direct-to-consumer marketing side, small as it is.

After reading the story, I am working on forming a small group of like-minded people who would be able to carry an "impactful" and articulate message to the people in charge of the inspection bureaucracy.

This group would ideally include beef/pork producers who understand the value and importance of the local butcher shop, some from the "buy local" movement, etc. Small enough to be agile and fast, and big enough to offer full representation.

Do you have any suggestions?

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It was really well written, but Gary Schellenberger lives not more then 1/4 of a mile from me and has never even tried to support us buy buying even one dozen of eggs. He doesn't even canvas us during election, being so close, so I guess why would I expect him to support small farmers.
Which is exactly why this message was written. I couldn't get the image of photo opp's between Ritz, Schellenberger and other parties involved, smiling, holding a cheque and claiming that the $4.5M is going to benefit family farms when, as your message clearly demonstrates, they don't get it - not even close.

A couple updates since I sent the email:
1. I was advised to also copy Perth-Wellington MPP John Wilkinson on email which I did same day as original was sent.
2. Was contacted that same evening by Jim Gracie, VP of Quality Meats indicating that he would like to speak further about this. My response:

Hi Jim.

Thank you for your email in response to my message from earlier today.
I would very much like to chat with you about this funding and the direction in which Great Lakes Specialty Meats in going in the not-so-distant future.

I just came across the following tidbit online:

Mitchell Plant Expansion To Use Ontario Hogs
Tuesday, May 4, 2010 8:21 am
It could take up to two years to finalize the upgrades to the Great Lakes Specialty Meats plant in Mitchell.
But when the upgrades are done a company spokesman says the product coming out of that plant will be a lot different than what's coming out of it now.
Jim Gracie says the plant will change from a basic slaughtering operation to one that's capable of producing higher value-added pork products for domestic and international markets.
And Gracie says they'll be doing that with Ontario hogs.

Quality Meats bought the Mitchell plant late last year.
Gracie says they're hoping to start on the upgrades this summer and have them all finished by March of 2012.

Source: http://www.am920.ca/news.php?mode=day&day=04&mth=05&yr=...

Would love to discuss this and what it means for Ontario farmers and the local option (as it pertains to meat) overall.
I have some time Monday morning. Tues/Wed are pretty booked. Please advise what works for you and we'll proceed accordingly.

Thank you and have a lovely evening.

We are going to be chatting via phone on Monday. Will follow up with you after that.
Hey Laurie,

How did the chat go with Jim Gracie @ Quality Foods.
More News on the Ontario Pork Processing Front.

Maple Leaf launches sale process for Burlington, Ontario, pork processing business

TORONTO, May 25, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --Maple Leaf Foods (MFI: TSX) today announced that it is launching a formal sale process for its Ontario pork processing business located in Burlington, Ontario, following renewed interest from potential purchasers and improved economic conditions and credit markets. The Company has engaged financial advisors to support the sale process.

"The sale of the Burlington business will complete the last phase of Maple Leaf's protein transformation journey and supports our commitment to refocus our growth in the value-added meat, meals and bakery business," said Michael Vels, Chief Financial Officer. "We are reinvigorating the sale process following renewed interest, including the potential of completing a sale to a producer group."

The 365,000 square foot Burlington facility is one of the largest and most efficient pork processing facilities in Canada. Together with its management and sales teams it is a profitable business with a highly skilled workforce.

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. is a leading Canadian food processing company headquartered in Toronto, Canada. The Company employs approximately 23,500 people at its operations across Canada and in the United States, Europe and Asia. The Company had sales of $5.2 billion in 2009.

SOURCE Maple Leaf Foods Inc.

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