The P&H Milling Group, with support from the Ontario government, is building the first flour mill in Ontario in 75 years.
Ontario Minister of Agriculture Jeff Leal made the announcement on Monday at Parrish & Heimbecker’s Hamilton Harbour location, where the new bulk mill is expected to commence operation in 2016. The expansion will allow P&H to process 25% more grain and increase the company’s intake of Ontario wheat by more than 10% annually.
“A strong food processing sector benefits everyone in the province – and that’s a message we continue to spread,” said Leal, adding that food manufacturing is Ontario’s second-largest manufacturing sector, representing 23% of all manufacturing in the province. He also noted that Ontario food processors are the largest purchasers of agricultural goods, buying 65% of what’s produced in the province.
The province will invest $5 million in the plant’s construction as part of its 10-year, $2.7 billion Jobs and Prosperity Fund. P&H will invest $40 million in the new mill. The investment is expected to create 16 new jobs while retaining more than 200 jobs in Ontario.
P&H president Derek Jamieson notes that the company already operates three mills in the province, but additional capacity is needed to service existing customers and explore new opportunities for the milling business.
The new mill also means increased demand for Ontario wheat. “It’s a key component of a lot of our flours now,” said Jamieson. “We hope to expand on that as well with a greater sales reach.”
Focus on the baking segment, which maintains a significant footprint in southern Ontario, is a key driver of P&H’s expansion plan, Jamieson explained. “One of the main reasons is that Ontario food manufacturers can reach into the United States quite easily from here so it’s a great advantage to us to have grain produced locally.” He notes that baking industry changes are also expanding opportunities for Ontario businesses. “A lot of products are now par-baked, which means that manufacturers can ship them a lot further.”
Jamieson expects construction to begin in March and the new facility to open late 2016. “Purchasing of wheat will commence at the same time as the mill starts,” said Jamieson.