Agricore United

Agricore United

December 14, 2006 14:52 ET

Agricore United Expands Capacity in "Downstream" Processing

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(CCNMatthews - Dec. 14, 2006) - Agricore United (TSX:AU) today announced plans to invest US$4.0 million in a new 100,000 ton dairy mineral manufacturing plant (mineral plant) at Hi-Pro Feeds (Hi-Pro) located in Friona, Texas and $5.2 million in a new 60,000 tonne specialty oat processing plant (oat plant) at its existing seed cleaning plant in Camrose, Alberta.

"Agricore United is committed to growth," says Brian Hayward, Chief Executive Officer, Agricore United. "With our recent refinancing, and five straight years of cash flow growth, we have the financial flexibility to continue to diversify into value-added downstream processing."

The dairy industry in New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle market area is experiencing significant growth. The mineral plant expansion, expected to be completed in the fall of 2007, will free production capacity at the existing Friona feed mill and allow Hi-Pro to participate in industry growth and secure additional market share.

"This investment reinforces Agricore United's continuing intent to develop its livestock services business segment" says Bill McGill, Vice President, Livestock Services. "The expansion affords Hi-Pro a unique opportunity to extend its leading position in the dairy market, and maintain its growth in other product lines."

The new oat plant will begin processing in the spring of 2008 and will replace Agricore United's existing 35,000 tonne Edmonton oat plant. The new plant, which also includes a retrofit of an existing forage seed cleaning plant, will increase Agricore United's production capacity of specialty oats processing and allow it to respond to growing market demands.

"The facility will incorporate state of the art processing technologies and automation," says Blair Roth, Manager, Beans and Special Crops. "The commitment to the expansion will also enhance Agricore United's product offerings to meet the demands of end-use customers while expanding the market opportunity for prairie oat growers."

Agricore United is one of Canada's leading agri-businesses with headquarters in Winnipeg, Manitoba and extensive operations and distribution capabilities across western Canada, as well as operations in the United States and Japan. Agricore United uses its technology, services and logistics expertise to leverage its network of facilities and connect agricultural customers to domestic and international customers and suppliers. The company's operations are diversified into sales of crop inputs and services, grain merchandising, livestock production services and financial services. Agricore United's common shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "AU".

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