In an announcement Friday (June 8) in the Havelock Community Center, West Nova MP Greg Kerr said the federal Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency is providing over $900,000 in repayable loans to two Digby County firms that complement each other’s activities to support mink farmers in the area.
Spec Environmental Solutions Inc. will receive a $419,454 loan to create a sustainable waste management system that will separate liquid and solid waste to enable more efficient composting practices.
Southwest Eco-Energy Ltd. will receive a $500,000 loan to develop an anaerobic digestion system that will keep mink waste out of landfill sites while producing bio-fuel and other value-added products.
“These projects are all about supporting a key rural industry by introducing innovative practices and technology to reduce waste and boost productivity,” Kerr said.
In addition to Ottawa’s investment, the province’s Department of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism and the Department of Agriculture are investing $195,300 in the Spec Environmental Solutions project and $351,800 in the Southwest Eco-Energy project.
“Key to these projects is achieving environmental stewardship while growing the economy,” said Cole Harbour-Eastern Passage MLA Becky Kent.
Max Barr, president of Southwest Eco-Energy Ltd., said the company is proud to be leading the way towards sustainability for their industry.
“We see opportunities in our future that will only make our industry stronger in the long term,” he said.
Both projects are to help mink farmers comply with new Nova Scotia regulations governing the environmental management of the fur farming industry.
The mink industry in Nova Scotia is primarily focused in rural Digby County, employing a significant number of local people and generating over $100 million in export sales a year.
Nova Scotia Mink Breeders Association president Danny Mullen said Friday’s announcement was great news as the mink industry in Nova Scotia is taking strides to be the envy of the world in mink production.
“Partnering with ACOA will help provide sustainability for the industry,” Mullen said. “It will assist in the mink ranchers’ efforts to comply with future regulations.”
Local mink rancher Danny Hill said he was pleased that Ottawa realizes how important the mink industry is to this area.