Stratford’s agri-business sector is about to get a big boost with the addition of an innovative, $20-million chick hatchery in Wright Business Park.
Trillium Hatchery Inc., a consortium of Ontario farmers, will begin construction in the spring on the 65,000-square-foot facility, which will incorporate new technology aimed at creating a better, more efficient and more animal-friendly environment throughout the entire hatching process.
Known as HatchCare, it provides the newly hatched chicks with immediate access to light, feed and water, which is not always the case with traditional producers.
Carefully controlled temperature and humidity levels, as well as adequate space, will also contribute to a more comfortable environment for the young birds.
“This technology gives the chick a jumpstart,” said Trillum co-founder Dave Brock Tuesday.
And hatching a stronger, healthier chick means it’s better able to be raised without the use of antibiotics, he added.
“I think the consumer is concerned about antibiotics and animal welfare, and this new technology will address those two priorities,” said Brock, who produces hatching eggs at his West Perth farm.
The new hatchery will help meet the growing demand for Ontario chicken, he noted.
Both Brock and Trillium co-founder Murray Booy suggested that Stratford’s location in the heart of an agriculture-rich area, as well as its reputation as a high-tech community, were key factors in deciding to locate the hatchery here.
“I think it’s a great fit for Stratford,” said Brock.
Booy called Trillium “an exciting new venture that will create economic opportunities all across southwestern Ontario.”
Construction on the new facility is expected to start in May, and the hatchery will open in 2018, with an initial capacity of more than 16 million chicks a year.
“And we hope to grow if from there,” said Brock.
InvestStratford managing director Mike Pullen said Trillum will join a number of other innovative ag-related companies in the city’s south end.
“Trillium Hatchery Inc. represents the growing diversity of companies in the Wright Business Park, and their over $20 million investment will generate an average of 20 or more new jobs,” he said.
And Mayor Dan Mathieson said the company’s decision to invest in Stratford demonstrates the city’s ability to attract innovation-minded businesses.
“Their revolutionary new approach merging technology and agriculture make them a perfect fit for our Wright Business Park,” he said.