Annapolis Valley agri-food firms seizing new growth opportunities

News release

Apple production line where the fruit is washed; apple production line where the fruit is sorted.

Government of Canada support assists with expansion, automation, efficiencies, and export markets

October 10, 2023 · Coldbrook, Nova Scotia · Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

Nova Scotia’s agri-food sector is an economic powerhouse, it supports more than 6,700 jobs across the province and has the potential to create more value for the people and communities who rely on it. The Government of Canada recognizes this potential and is investing to help six agri-food companies seize new growth opportunities through automation, expansion and access to new markets.

Federal government supports Annapolis Valley companies

Today, the Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA, and Kody Blois, Member of Parliament for Kings-Hants, announced repayable contributions totalling $4,855,000 through the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program to Scotian Gold, Atlantic Poultry, Nova Agri, Van Meekeren Farms, Eden Valley Poultry and Sustainable Blue. These investments will help the companies invest in equipment that will increase their productivity and efficiency, and grow their businesses while supporting good jobs for Nova Scotians.

For more information about the funding recipients, please see backgrounder.

Today’s announcement demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment to Nova Scotia’s valuable agri-foods sector, increasing regional prosperity by helping growers and processors expand, automate and increase market shares for their sought-after products.  


“Nova Scotia’s fruits, vegetables, meats and seafoods are world-famous. By choosing to innovate, these companies are increasing yields, supporting good jobs and solidifying the Annapolis Valley’s reputation as a world-class food producer.”  
- The Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA

“Agriculture is the foundation of the economy in Kings-Hants. Anytime we can invest in local companies to support further innovation and competitiveness is a good day, and I am pleased to see our government emphasize our agricultural sector here in Nova Scotia.”
- Kody Blois, Member of Parliament for Kings-Hants 

“The new presort technology will further automate the sorting process for our apples. This will lead to increase efficiencies at our facility as well as a more consistent product to our customers.”
- David Parrish, President and CEO, Scotian Gold Co-operative Ltd.

“ACOA’s support has played a pivotal role in allowing Atlantic Poultry Incorporated (API) to embark on the ambitious project of constructing a state-of-the-art hatchery right here in the Annapolis Valley. ACOA’s funding has strengthened our capacity as an Atlantic Canadian company and will significantly contribute to the broader agricultural landscape in our region. We take pride in operating within the robust framework of the supply management system, as it not only ensures the stability and fairness in our industry and for Canadian consumers, but also reflects a commitment to supporting the economic prosperity of Atlantic Canada. Today, we look forward with confidence and excitement for the future possibilities that this new hatchery will unlock for our company.” 
- Mike Bannister, President and CEO, Atlantic Poultry Incorporated

“The future of farming is innovation and technology so the six families involved with Nova Agri are very grateful for the support and partnership we receive from ACOA. The purchase and implementation of the new equipment made possible with this funding is key to our future success and ability to provide the markets with top quality product.”
- Earl Kidston, CEO, Nova Agri

“Van Meekeren Farms is a family-owned business partnering with many Nova Scotia farmers. This investment will further benefit the apple industry in Nova Scotia as Van Meekeren Farms is one of the key exporters of apples in the province.”
- Stephen Van Meekeren, Co-Owner, Van-Meekeren Farms Ltd.

“Following a post pandemic world, Eden Valley Poultry, like many businesses, faces an ever-changing business landscape, characterized by significantly increased supply chain costs, stubbornly high inflation, high interest rates and consumers who are being stretched to their absolute financial limits to keep food on the table. At the same time, EVP must remain invested in innovation and continuous improvement to spearhead our efforts to offset these challenges and remain relevant and competitive. Eden Valley Poultry has a defined strategy of continuous reinvestment into our operations and facility. Eden Valley Poultry is very grateful for the support we are receiving from ACOA, which will support our overall purpose and help us continue to feed Canadians.”
- Werner Barnard, President and CEO, Eden Valley Poultry Inc.

“Sustainable Blue is delighted to receive this support from ACOA. The company has come through an extended period of technology development and is now in the commercialization phase. These funds will help the company secure efficiencies in key operational areas and develop valuable alternative revenue streams which will increase the project’s sustainability credentials.”
- Kirk Havercroft, CEO, Sustainable Blue

Quick facts

  • Investments in agri-food have the potential to advance sustainable solutions to the world’s food demand and position Atlantic Canada as a key contributor to meeting global needs. 

  • Agri-food businesses that adopt digital and process automation are better positioned to grow and compete in domestic and international markets. 

  • Productivity enhancements that create increased efficiencies lay the foundation for organizations to strategically align resources to innovation and product development.

  • The province of Nova Scotia has gained an international reputation as a reliable source of high-quality food, beverage and value-added ingredients.


Kevin Lemkay
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Rural Economic Development
and of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Anya Melzer
Acting Director of Communications
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

David Parrish
President and CEO
Scotian Gold Co-operative Ltd.
902-679-6780 (Office) | 902-680-8512 (Mobile)

Drew Redden
Director, Sales and Corporate Development
Atlantic Poultry Incorporated

Earl Kidston
CEO, Nova Agri

Stephen Van Meekeren
Van Meekeren Farms Ltd.

Werner Barnard
President & Chief Executive Officer
Eden Valley Poultry Incorporated
902-538-3800 ext. 6105 (Office) | 902-389-7918 (Mobile)

Melissa Welles
Quoted PR (For Sustainable Blue)

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