Blue Goose Foods abandons Island organic beef enterprise

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Will sell off its 1,300 head of Black Angus cattle and concentrate on aquaculture expansion

TORONTO—Blue Goose is officially retreating from its Island beef operations but will be remaining in the organic beef industry through their ‘vertically integrated operations’ in British Columbia.

“We have made the difficult decision to wind down our beef operations to focus our resources on our aquaculture business on Manitoulin,” confirmed Jean Lepine, executive vice president, Risk Management and Communications, in a Monday exchange with The Expositor. “We have a completely vertically integrated beef operation in British Columbia and will focus part of our resources on growing that business.”

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The fate of the significant property holdings on Manitoulin remains up in the air, however. “No decisions have been made on the company’s other property interests on Manitoulin,” said Mr. Lepine, “but rest assured that any future decision will keep the best interests of the people and the Island in mind.”

As to what led to the difficult decision to walk away from Island beef production, Mr. Lepine said the answer was simply a matter of best practices in resource management. “As a new company, we have to regularly look at the limited resources we have to support the growth of our entire business across all three protein platforms (beef, poultry and fish),” he said. “With an already well established beef business in BC, we decided to focus our resources on our growing aquaculture business on Manitoulin.”

Mr. Lepine noted Blue Goose remains strongly committed to the Island economy. “In fact, we are investing in growing fingerlings so as to get even closer to our aspiration to be completely vertically integrated in our fish operations on Manitoulin,” he said. “As we said, we will first focus on the employees affected by this decision and support them in finding alternative work while we humanely transition our cattle to other farms and ranches. This work will take some time.”

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Mr. Lepine also addressed the direct question of rumours about the connection with resource investment giant Dundee in relation to Blue Goose.

“We do understand the concerns of Island residents,” he said. “Blue Goose is in the business of raising high quality, healthy food. We came to the Island because of our interest in the opportunity to grow our organic protein business. As we have said we have decided to focus part of our limited resources on growing high quality organic fish on Manitoulin and hope to make that an even more successful business going forward.”

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