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Cattlemen's group expanding northwestern Ontario ag venture

Stratton Sales Barn will be transformed into all-season cattle facility
The cattle sales barn in Stratton in northwestern Ontario is getting an upgrade, thanks to some federal funding.

Cattle sales in northwestern Ontario are expected to get a big boost with the expansion of a key sales barn used by the Rainy River Cattlemen's Association.

Based in northwestern Ontario, the farmer-led group has received FedNor funding of nearly $830,000 to expand the Stratton Sales Barn, which hosts multiple cattle sales throughout the year.

Provided through FedNor’s Northern Ontario Development Program, the money will be used to prepare the site for expansion, construct a new sales facility, and install underground water lines and a new watering system. 

Upgrades will be made to the existing building, and the association will be able to purchase and install a new skid steer and modernized pennig and handling facilities to help feed and sort cattle in a safe and efficient manner.

“We are very pleased to announce extensive upgrades to the Stratton Sales Barn Yard,” Louis Bujold, president of the Rainy River Cattlemen's Association, said in a March 19 news release.

"In partnership with FedNor and the government of Canada, we are excited that this major expansion project allows us to increase capacity, revenue, improve efficiencies and services for the more than 200 cattle producers in northwestern Ontario. It is going to be awesome!”

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Established in 1960, the Stratton Sales Barn was built by farmers and volunteers in the community of Stratton, located 405 kilometres west of Thunder Bay, near the Manitoba border to the west and the Minnesota border to the south.

The facility hosts multiple cattle sales a year, typically in the spring and fall, with cattle sold to buyers from across Canada.

In 2020, the association sold 6,335 head of cattle for a total of $7.2 million.

When the facility upgrades are complete, the association expects to see an increase to service and annual cattle sales by more than 50 per cent for farmers in the Rainy River, Kenora, and Thunder Bay Districts.

According to the association, the Rainy River District is the largest agricultural region in northwestern Ontario, primarily consisting of beef farms. The area boasts a herd of approximately 20,000 head of cattle.

Producers also process and market their beef through the Rainy River Abattoir, which was established in 2010.