© Christopher Vaughan photo
A forklift operator enters Shur-Gain’s Stephenville warehouse on Nov. 9.
It might be something to moo and squawk about.
Shur-Gain, one of Canada's leading suppliers of animal feeds and health care products, will permanently shut down its livestock and poultry feed mill operation in Stephenville at the end of the year.
"The reasons for this closure are related to the low volume of finished feeds being manufactured and limited profitability at the operation," said Réjean Faubert, Shur-Gain's Atlantic region general manager, in an email to the Georgian.
"We will continue to maintain a presence in the livestock industry of the region in supplying sales and technical services - and will remain a supplier of feeds products to Newfoundland customers through our Moncton (New Brunswick) mill facility."
The Newfoundland Feed Grains Society, a not-for-profit group whose members work in the dairy and poultry industries, owns grain storage tanks adjacent to the local feed grain facility.
Shur-Gain and the society rely on each other to run their respective operations.
"Without their unloading system, we'd have to put our own in," said Bruce Simmons, the society's chairman. "Without our tanks, they have no way to hold bulk product from boats, so it's kind of a two-way street. We can figure a way to get grain out there without them, but it would be better to use what's there now."
"The reasons for this closure are related to the low volume of finished feeds being manufactured and limited profitability at the operation." Réjean Faubert, Shur-Gain's Atlantic region general manager
While it could be in the society's best interest to take over the Shur-Gain facility, Mr. Simmons said it needs a lot of work and a declining market for pre-mixed feeds are factors that need to be considered.
"We haven't officially made an offer yet and they haven't made an offer to us," he noted. "We have discussed it at a meeting and we may or may not make a proposal in the next little while."
It's not just dairy and poultry farms that will be affected by the closure of Shur-Gain's local operations.
The company supplies such items as pet food, birdseed, vegetable bags, hay bailing twine, lawn seed, fertilizer and lime to west coast residents and businesses.
In addition to purchasing an array of items from the local Shur-Gain, Wells Farm in Robinsons also sells seed potatoes to the company, who in turn market these tubers to other businesses and individuals.
"It's a big deal," said Elaine Wells, farm co-owner, of the facility's closure.
Shur-Gain in Stephenville employs one part-time and three full-time employees.