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Province pitches in for cattle barn rebuild in northwestern Ontario

Hops producers get funding for new equipment
The cattle sales barn in Stratton in northwestern Ontario was established in 1960.

Beef producers in northwestern Ontario are getting a boost from the provincial government to rebuild their cattle sales barns.

Through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund, the province is providing the Rainy River Cattlemen's Association with $829,700 for the project.

It includes the rebuilding of two sales barns, installing an underground watering system, purchasing a new scale system, and improving loading, penning and auction areas.

The effort will enable the association to host more auctions and attract Ontario beef producers to the local market.

"We are so pleased with the support from the Ontario government as we do these major upgrades to our sales barn,” said Kim Jo Bliss, secretary of the Rainy River Cattlemen's Association, in a July 8 news release.

“The ability to extend our seasons at the sales barn for both our staff and cattle will be a huge improvement. We are excited for this project and are looking forward to showing off the hard work later this fall.”

The provincial allotment follows funding of $830,000 announced by the federal government in March.

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In addition, the province announced $60,000 for the Rainy River Future Development Corp. to purchase a mechanical hops harvester and baler for local producers to harvest and sell hops to regional buyers.

Hops production is an emerging industry in the northwest; the flowers of the plant are harvested for use in the brewing of beer.

"The Rainy River Future Development Corporation greatly appreciates the support of the Ontario government in purchasing a hops harvester,” Gord Armstrong, chair of the Rainy River Future Development Corp., said in the release.

"The district has seen the development of a hops sector, and having a harvester available for area producers to use will enhance harvesting activities and allow the producers to get their hops to market."