by Colin Smith
Champion Petfoods has been showcased as a growing value-added industry in an Alberta government plan for the province’s rural economy.
Released Oct. 28, the Rural Economic Development Action Plan focuses on areas outside of Edmonton and Calgary, particularly on communities with less than 25,000 people. The document is the end product of a task force on rural economic created early this year and chaired by Verlyn Olson, minister of agriculture and rural development.
Intended to be a blueprint for future rural economic success the plan lays outlines strategies and actions to build on the strength of Alberta’s rural economy by linking existing resources and organizations and increasing infrastructure capacity for growth.
Morinville-based Champion Petfoods, which employs one of six people who live and work in the community, is described as a shining example of a value-added industry that combines local agricultural inputs with international niche marketing.
“As the largest private sector employer in the town, the company’s direct economic impact is tens of millions of dollars to Morinville and hundreds of millions to the Alberta economy,” the report states.
“We’re committed to making Morinville a great place to work, live, and raise a family,” said Frank Burdzy, the company’s president and CEO. “While Morinville is home, our market place is the world. Champion Petfoods purchases Alberta fresh regional ingredients and turns those into Canada’s best pet foods.”
Schaun Goodeve, Morinville’s economic development coordinator, said the community should be proud that Champion is being recognized within the province’s plan.
“The significance is that not only is Champion an industry leader because of their sound business model, this also demonstrates that an international company can be based in Morinville, source locally and operate a successful business,” he said.
Goodeave said this helps to share the “Morinville advantage” to a broad audience, which in turn can trigger additional growth in the business community.
“Morinville is fortunate to have many businesses worthy of recognition and this report by the province may be the first of many examples where Morinville businesses are showcased.”