Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay announced $2.6 million in funding for the Cows Creamery on Thursday.
The funding will be used to help the dairy company to expand its processing capacity and to introduce new types of cheese and butter. ACOA contributed $800,000 of the funding, with the remaining $1.8 million coming from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
“No one could have predicted the sales growth and the awards and everything else that has come with that industry. Really, for a number of years now, we've been cramped when it comes to that side of the business. We were operating in small coolers, small freezers. We have a very small production room.”
-Chad Heron, Cows vice-president
MacAulay made the announcement at the creamery on the North River causeway, accompanied by Charlottetown MP Sean Casey.
"I'm immensely proud to have Cows as a business in this riding," Casey said.
"The good work that's being done by companies like Cows needs to be supported and is being supported by the announcement that you're about to hear today."
MacAulay said Cows is quickly expanding its operation beyond simply producing ice cream.
"Your brand is known around the world and in stores in Cavendish, Banff and as far as Beijing," MacAulay said.
"I can tell you as a dairy farmer from P.E.I., nothing could make me more proud. It shows what can be done with a great product and a great brand."
Cows vice-president Chad Heron said the new funding would allow the company to employ more Islanders and export more of its cheese and butter products.
“No one could have predicted the sales growth and the awards and everything else that has come with that industry,” Heron said. “Really, for a number of years now, we've been cramped when it comes to that side of the business. We were operating in small coolers, small freezers. We have a very small production room.”
The announcement came in the midst of speculation that a new NAFTA agreement could be reached between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico as early as Friday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has suggested the Trump administration is intent on dismantling Canada’s supply management system.
But the prime minister has not ruled out making concessions on supply management.
For his part, MacAulay said the federal government would continue to defend supply management, but also stated that no subject was off the table for discussion.
As a minister, MacAulay has been providing information to negotiators but said he is not actively involved in the talks.
“We're the party that put supply management in place and we're the government that's going to support it. That's exactly how it is," he said.