The Quebec-based agricultural cooperative announced that its agri-business division bought a 50% stake in W-S Feed & Supply last week. The investment is considered to be another strategic investment into Ontario’s agricultural market.
The feed company was of interest, in part, for La Coop fédérée because of its presence in Ontario, said David Arseneau, general manager of livestock production, and Sébastien Léveillé, executive vice president, agri-business with La Coop fédérée.
“At this point, La Coop fédérée is well established in Quebec and the Maritimes in the animal nutrition sector and growth possibilities are limited, whereas, up until now, our presence in Ontario and Western provinces was limited to crop inputs and grain handling and merchandising,” they told FeedNavigator. “Building on our strong expertise in animal nutrition and supply chain, we aim at developing new markets with partners, like W-S Feed & Supply in Ontario or Standard Nutrition in the Prairie Provinces.”
The cooperative is the largest agri-food enterprise in Quebec and among the largest in the world, representing more than 120,000 members and annual revenues of about $6.3bn.
The feed and animal nutrition company, W-S Feed & Supply, is based in Tavistock, Ontario and operates a set of feed mills in Tavistock and Mount Forest, the cooperative said. The partnership between the two organizations will continue to generate a wide range of traditional and specialty feeds for dairy cattle, beef cattle, swine and poultry.
In addition to its location, the feed company’s practices also made it a partner of interest, said Arseneau and Léveillé.
“W-S Feeds has enjoyed a steady growth over its past 50 years of existence and has a strong presence in southern Ontario,” they said. “The fact that we have a similar vision of customer service and shared business values will make it that much easier to develop synergies and bring added value to Ontario farmers.”
Expansion plans, supply chain development
The investment in the feed production company is the latest in a series of steps that La Coop has taken to expand its presence across Canada, said Arseneau and Léveillé.
“Our goal is to expand our geographic footprint by building on our existing presence and expertise and combining it to the strengths of local partners that are well established in their market,” they said. “In Ontario, we were already well established in the crop input business, but not so much in the grain sector and not at all in the animal feed sector.”
“With the pending transaction with Cargill, we expect that our new crop input retailers will help us source grain into our grain sector,” they added. “Having new logistic and storage facilities will also develop significantly our capacity in this area, thus contributing to our feed mill supply chain.”
Earlier this year the cooperative entered into an arrangement to buy several Ontario-based grain and crop input facilities from Cargill along with Cargill’s percent share in the feed and food grain managing South West Ag Partners.
The cooperative’s agri-business division has been working to “maximize business synergies” among the three sectors it covers including crop production, livestock production – comprised on animal feed and nutrition research, and grain handling and merchandising, said Arseneau and Léveillé.
“Developing these new partnerships [brings] benefits to the whole network because we value very much the sharing of expertise and we make sure to leverage the added volumes that go into our supply chain to optimize costs in all our animal feed facilities,” they said. “Also, the most performing products can also be made available to all our networks.”
The cooperative also is continuing to look for new ways to expand its presence in feed, crops and grains, they added.