The agriculture industry in the North Okanagan got a boost with the official ground-breaking of a new feed mill.
More than 150 people attended the ground-breaking ceremony at the north end of Swan Lake in Spallumcheen on Thursday.
The Okanagan Valley Feeds mill will produce feed for all types of farm animals.
John Couch, with OVF, said it is the first time in 50 years such a plant has been built in the region.
The Couch family operated a large feed mill in Grindrod that it started in 1957 and upgraded in the mid-1970s.
The new mill will be able to make four different types of feed.
“It will be capable of feeding all the herds, all the flocks, all the livestock grown right here in the Okanagan,” said Couch, adding once the mill is up and running, it will help with food security in the region.
The mill will have the capacity to feed 15,000 head of local cattle, plus chickens, horses, hog, sheep and more.
Couch said there will be no animal by-products in the feed and the plant will focus on local as much as possible.
“OVF looks to partner with local land owners to grow more grain right here. OVF will also look to supply, or help facilitate, everything that is needed to grow and harvest crops. And when this feed mill is complete and operational, it will house a revolving inventory of 10,000 metric tonnes.”
Spallumcheen Mayor Christine Fraser said the mill is “super exciting for the region.
“We are going to be producing food in the Okanagan for farmers in the Okanagan. That is a huge benefit for our community and for the region from a financial standpoint for the farmers.”
MLA Lana Popham was also at the event and said given the challenges of the past few years, agriculture is even more vital.
“Consumers have been putting farmers up on pedestals and there is a real understanding that if we don't support our local farmers, we're in trouble,” she said.
It is possible the $35-million mill could be fully operational within the next 18 months.