Government of Canada invests more than $1.5 million in Lac-Mégantic cheese processor
June 1, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario – Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
Today, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau announced an investment of $1,577,028 to Fromagerie La Chaudière in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, under the Dairy Processing Investment Fund. This funding has helped the locally owned cheese processor increase its production by 25 per cent while reducing its environmental footprint.
Fromagerie La Chaudière produces a wide range of fresh and aged cheeses, processed cheese, organic cheeses and butter for sale. The investment allowed the company to install an automated production line to respond to consumer demand for its firm unripened cheese twists called Déguédine. The increase in the plant's production, which now runs 24 hours a day, six days a week, created new positions in the staff of over 200.
The company also introduced a reverse osmosis water treatment technology to remove most of the water from the whey that is a by-product of cheese production. Before the technology was introduced this past January, Fromagerie la Chaudière was using 25 trucks a week to transport the whey to another processor. The company now transports the concentrated whey with just one truck a day, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and cutting transportation costs.
The $100-million Dairy Processing Investment Fund was created to help Canadian processors modernize their businesses and improve their productivity and competitiveness. The fund helped dairy processors adapt to market changes resulting from the implementation of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). While the program expired in 2021, the Government of Canada continues to help processors in supply managed sectors modernize through the six-year, $292-million Supply Management Processing Investment Fund announced this year.
“Our family cheesemakers are often part of their region's identity and a source of great pride. By processing the milk of local producers, they contribute to food self-sufficiency and the vitality of their communities. Our government will continue to invest in them to improve their competitiveness and contribute to their sustainability.”
- The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
“Our family business is an important economic driver for the Mégantic region and a flagship for the dairy processing industry in Quebec. These investments have helped us continue to grow while reducing our greenhouse gas emissions by 75 per cent. We are proud that our locally made products have national reach and we continue to work to meet growing consumer demand while minimizing our environmental footprint.”
- Michel Choquette, président, Fromagerie La Chaudière
Fromagerie la Chaudière is a family-owned business founded in Lac Mégantic in 1976. Its cheese product line includes cheddar, gouda, Swiss, mozzarella, unripened firm cheese and organic cheeses. The company also sells processed cheese spreads, sticks and twists, as well as butter.
The five-year Dairy Processing Investment Fund has helped 105 processors modernize and grow.
In 2021, Quebec's dairy processing sector had sales of $5.7 billion and directly employed more than 10,000 people. In the same year, Quebec dairy farmers produced 3.5 billion litres of milk, with farm-gate sales of $2.7 billion.
The demand for Canadian dairy products remains strong, with a 10.9 per cent increase in raw milk production over the last five years, and over $7.4 billion in farm cash receipts in 2021.
There are over 500 dairy processors in Canada. In 2021, these processors had sales of $16.1 billion and directly employed nearly 27,000 people.
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