Talks Encouraging About Future of Atlantic Beef Products Plant

first_imgMinisters of Agriculture from the three Maritime provinces agreed that enough positive progress has been made at Atlantic Beef Products to accelerate negotiations on the future of the Prince Edward Island plant. “I was very pleased with the level of co-operation shown by my Maritime colleagues at a meeting in Moncton today,” Prince Edward Island Agriculture Minister Neil LeClair said. “We are now moving into a new phase — which should produce a comprehensive plan that will give all of the players a new level of comfort and provide the basis for a final decision by all three provinces on the plant’s future.” During the meeting, the ministers were updated on substantial progress in making the plant viable. “The beef plant is very much needed in terms of the region’s agricultural infrastructure,” Nova Scotia Agriculture Minister Brooke Taylor said. “The information that was provided today permits us to take a further step down the road. My two colleagues understand the need to be responsible to taxpayers in each of the three provinces – and the process underway reflects that understanding.” New Brunswick Agriculture Minister Ron Ouellette said there is a strong desire to see the plant move toward financial sustainability. “There are a number of encouraging signs in terms of progress at the plant, and the next phase of the process will be very important. At this point, I am cautiously optimistic that a constructive way forward will be found over the short-term,” Mr. Ouellette said. The three ministers were presented with a series of reports at their meetings today that gave specific descriptions of both the history and current status at the plant. At the request of the Maritime Beef Council, those reports have been provided to Price Waterhouse Cooper to develop a business plan agreeable to all three Maritime governments. Over the past two-and-a-half months, losses at the plant have dwindled substantially. “All of us agreed that much of the recent improvement at the plant is due to growing consumer demand for regionally produced food products,” Mr. LeClair said. “In particular, regional retailers have responded very positively to consumer desire for locally produced food.”last_img read more

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