From left to right: MPP Randy Pettapiece, Malcolm Campbell Vice President (Research) University of Guelph, John de Bruyn Vice Chair Ontario Pork, Minister Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs and Franco Vaccarino President University of Guelph. (Submitted photo)

New swine research station in Elora

The Ontario government is teaming up with Ontario Pork to build a new state-of-the-art swine facility in Elora.

The project will cost around $15 million, and will be located at the Elora Research Station, where other research facilities for crops, dairy and beef cattle are located.

Ontario Minister of Agriculture Ernie Hardeman said the new facility will replace a location in Arkell, which opened in 1975 and is now nearing the end of its lifecycle.

“We’re at the end of the lifespan of the Arkell station and it’s ability to expand because of encroachment on more built up areas,” said Hardeman. “So this is an opportune time to move to an innovative research centre at Elora where we have 2,300 acres for all of the research to be done.”

Hardeman says the provincial government will continue to support local farmers until normal trade resumes, including future trade with China.

“I think we are one of the top quality and safety jurisdictions in the world in the export industry,” added Hardeman. “But when we have the issues that we have presently with China, it’s important that we can verify everything that we do and that we promote when we export.”

The new facility will use state-of-the-art technology to meet the needs of the swine sector, representing more than 1,200 producers across the province.

“We have the planning done for this swine facility, hopefully moving forward to get to the construction as soon as we can,” said Hardeman. “Obviously that is on the radar now but we have other commodities that are not yet here. Some of the others that are not here such as chicken if that opportunity arises in the future.”

Hardeman calls the change in the swine industry since 1975 remarkable and says they must continue to improve efficiencies and quality on a larger basis.