Sevita VP Bob Hart, MPP Vic Fedeli and MPP Jim McDonell look around outside of the Sevita Sandy Row facility. Morin Photo

INKERMAN – Sevita International Corp. Sandy Row facility had an interesting visit from the province on Aug. 6.

The Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, Vic Fedeli and SD&G MPP Jim McDonell dropped by the Sevita processing plant to announce funding for the seed and soybean processing company.

Sevita is expanding its processing capabilities with construction of a new facility alongside its existing ones at the processing plant. They are building a $3 million, new soybean processing facility in Inkerman, which will be designed to allow the processing and packaging of both seed and food-grade soybeans in the same plant.

The province is funding the project with $500,000 from the Eastern Ontario Development Fund.

A spokesperson for Sevita said the addition of the new processing facility will boost its seed business in this part of the province by 50 per cent. The expectation is that the new state-of-the-art plant will lower production costs as well as improve the quality of their product. Sevita will also be purchasing equipment that warms up the seeds which will extend the seed processing and treating season. The ability to warm the seeds up is unique to Sevita and no other seed facility in Ontario can do this.

The company receives soybeans from about 200 farms in the region and sells about 85 per cent of its products to foreign countries.

In a press release about funding, Sevita’s VP of operations, Bob Hart said, “To become Canada’s leading provider of food-grade soybeans to the world, Sevita International collaborates with local resources such as our local growers, other partners and our highly valued employees to develop, grow and provide the finest soybean varieties that supply the growing global demand for high quality Canadian soybean products.”

He added “We are thrilled to partner with the Eastern Ontario Regional Development team to create both a local and global win, win situation.”

The visit included tour of the facility and a step-by-step explanation of what Sevita does and how they do it. Sevita develops different varies of seed and farmers use these same seeds to grow soybeans which are harvested and sent back to the Sevita processing plant and from there around the world.

Minister Vic Fedeli said, “Seeing the companies in Ontario and seeing this area of Ontario invest $30 million in new facilities today, tell us that the recovery in Ontario is about to begin because of companies that we saw here in South Eastern Ontario.”

Fedeli said the fact that Sevita creates the seed varieties it does and then have farmers plant those seed to grow soybean crops that will be harvested and sent back to Sevita and then exported to the rest of the world, is a great opportunity for Ontario, job creation and a healthy rural economy.

MPP McDonell said, “I am somewhat surprised at the value added to soybean crops. That has created a great market in foreign countries.”

He said it was to Sevitas’ credit to have accomplished what it has.

Over the past three years Sevita has upgraded its Sandy Row facility. The company has invested $1.9 million in upgrades.

In the summer of 2016, Sevita installed two new receiving pits that can run at the same time. Each pit has the capacity to unload 150 tonnes per hour.

They changed the grain probe they use to a corn style after customers were concerned that the compartment style probe was resulting in higher dockage levels.

In 2016 the plant was completely rebuilt, and all of its equipment was upgraded. In 2016 they also installed a new colour sorter and a large aspiration unit for shipping bulk seed. The next big change will be the addition of its new processing plant.