AGRIS Co-operative Ltd.

AGRIS Co-operative Ltd.

January 17, 2007 16:38 ET

AGRIS Co-operative Announces $158,000 in Federal Support for Biofuels Project

CHATHAM, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 17, 2007) - Kim Fysh, AGRIS Co-operative's Board President, and Bob Peden, UPI Energy LP's Director of Central Ontario Energy Alliance, today announced to members at AGRIS Co-op's first annual meeting that their co-op has received $158,000 from the Agricultural Adaptation Council's Biofuels Opportunities for Producers Initiative (BOPI).

BOPI funding assists Canada's new government to meet its biofuels commitment of 5 per cent average renewable fuel content in transport fuel by 2010. UPI Energy LP is the co-operative's energy supplier.

Announced last fall by the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, BOPI is for agricultural producers and rural communities to participate in increased biofuels production.

"AGRIS Co-operative Ltd. will, with the BOPI support, complete a feasibility study and business plan to look into building a soy crushing plant to produce and market primarily soy diesel, including the marketing of the by-products (hulls, meal, glycerol, others) within Southwestern Ontario," says Fysh. The feasibility study will look at different aspects of the potential soy crushing plan such as:

- feedstock availability and price

- the complete soy diesel market and the marketing of by-products for soy meal and glycerol markets

- preliminary site assessment, including capital and operating costs estimate, and

- financial analysis including breakeven and sensitivity analysis.

AGRIS Co-operative General Manager Jim Campbell commented, "completing the feasibility study and business plan will give our Board of Directors the needed knowledge to continue working towards opportunities related to the production and marketing of soy diesel. This BOPI program is very innovative and in particular, because it requires direct producer involvement, is very supportive of the grain and oilseeds producers in the AGRIS trading area. We are appreciative of this support to our project and the overall strategic direction the federal government is taking in its support of environmentally- friendly fuels."

"Through this funding from Canada's New Government, AGRIS Co-operative has an opportunity to contribute to the growth of a strong Canadian renewable fuels industry," said local Member of Parliament (Lambton-Kent-Middlesex) Bev Shipley. Shipley also discussed with members the overall federal government's strategic direction in support of renewable energy.

"Increasing the value of our agricultural products is the key to improving our agri-food sector," says Bob Bedggood, past chair of the Agricultural Adaptation Council. "The main goal of BOPI is to make a viable business case for producing transportation fuels that include agricultural inputs. Today's announcement provides a timely boost, to move those ideas from where people are just thinking about them, to the point where they're putting the wheels in motion, bringing them closer to reality, and we need more of that in this province, and across the country."

Other Annual Meeting Highlights:

Other highlights of the annual meeting included reporting to members the successful merger between La Co-operative de Pointe-aux-Roches and Orford Co-operative Ltd. with a combined savings in duplicated expenses of approximately $450,000. "This savings was a key driving force for the union of the two organizations and will serve as a solid foundation for the new co-operative, reducing costs and improved efficiencies in the future to better serve our member owners and patrons," says Fysh. The Board of Directors presented the financial statement, future strategic plans and other highlights of the year.

Campbell also reviewed the operational highlights for the year ending Aug. 31, 2006 and commented, "We will continue to look for opportunities to provide better service and returns to our members in the future. Your Board of Directors have also remained focused on ensuring that the formation of AGRIS was done in a way to ensure we are positioned to be an efficient provider of our members' crop inputs, fuel and grain marketing needs."

AGRIS Co-operative Ltd. is a one-hundred-per-cent farmer-owned grain marketing and farm-input supply company and serves more than 1,200 farmer members in 14 locations in Essex, Kent, Elgin, Middlesex and Lambton Counties. It is a leader in precision farming technology, seed, agronomy and petroleum services. The co-operative is part owner of Great Lakes Grain Inc., a grain merchandising company, and Wheatley Elevators specializing in Identity Preserved grain markets. AGRIS Co-operative is a member-owner of GROWMARK, Inc. and markets products and services under the FS banner. Visit http://www.agris.coop and www.fssystem.com for more information.

Contact Information

  • AGRIS Co-operative Ltd.
    Jim Campbell
    General Manager
    (519) 354-7178
    Email: jimc@orfordcoop.on.ca
    or
    Southern Co-operative Services
    Terry Stevenson
    Communications Manager
    (519) 438-1882
    Email: terrys@scscoop.com