Centre Burlington family opens poultry processing plant

Ashley Thompson athompson@hantsjournal.ca
Published on April 19, 2011
Cameron Taylor, right, and Nova Scotia’s Minister of Agriculture John MacDonell — both farmers — share a laugh at the grand opening of the Cogmagun Poultry Processing plant April 11.

Producers looking for poultry processing services handy to Hants County are in luck.

The family owned and operated Cogmagun Poultry Processing plant, a Centre Burlington company founded by mother and son duo Beth and Cameron Taylor, hosted an open house April 11 to show off Hants County’s new, provincially-inspected poultry abattoir.

The team has been processing turkeys and chickens for private growers in a smaller plant on the family farm for four years but, Beth says, the expansion of their facilities, coupled with the provincial certification, opens their services to more producers in Nova Scotia. 

“We can now kill for licensed poultry producers because they have to have provincially-inspected plants to process their birds so that they can resell them,” said Beth, referring to the motivation behind the birth of Cogmagun Poultry Processing Co. Ltd., which came to be in 2010.

“We started out operating under our farm — Mill Acre Farm — and once we started to go ahead with the inspected plant, we decided to go under a new entity and we created the new company,” she added.

Beth has been running Mill Acre Farms, which produces such commodities as free-range pork and lamb, at 760 Cogmagun Road for about 30 years.

The youngest of her three sons, 31-year-old Cameron, approached her while he was in high school and asked to be a business partner.

“One of our objectives is that (Cameron) will be able to stay on the farm, because that’s where he wants to be.”

Beth says Cameron’s desire the stay on the farm has enabled them to grow their business, produce more and offer a diverse range of value-added, poultry-processing services such as packaging whole roasted chickens, wings, thighs, drumsticks and boneless, skinless breasts.

The duo hopes to attract more customers, get the word out about their specialty services, and in the process, hire employees to handle the increase in demand before 2012. 

“Once we’re up and running and our customer base grows, we will have to have employees,” she said.

“We’re hoping that we’ll have to have somebody this year. But people have to know that we’re here.”

The provincial government chipped in $70,000 of strategic infrastructure funding in 2009, and an additional $22,000 through their Agri-Food Industry Development Fund, to help make the Cogmagun Poultry Processing plant a reality.

“It has taken us two years from conception to where it is right now to put this together and they were with us the whole way. They were only a phone call away if we needed any help,” Beth said.

After presenting a brief speech at the open house, Minister of Agriculture John MacDonell said the provincial government recognized a need for another inspected poultry processing plant in rural Hants County.

“This facility will cater to a broader agricultural community. We want young people doing this type of thing, creating wealth, spending their money in their communities,” he said.

MacDonell, the MLA for Hants East, thanked Cameron for his interest in staying on the farm, and for helping his mother grow a family business that has the potential to help in the revitalization of the agricultural industry in Nova Scotia.

“To invest in (Cameron) is to invest in the broader community and we think that is worthwhile,” said MacDonell, adding that drawing more people to a rural community will increase the demand for services, educators and doctors in the area.

President of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, Beth Densmore, watched Cameron manually haul bricks, one by one, when the plant was being built. At the open house, standing inside the finished facility, Densmore, a fellow sheep farmer, marvelled at the result of the Taylors’ hard work.

“I know it’s been a long road for them, but they preserved, they went through all the trials and tribulations, and look at this facility; here it is in Hants County, with the possibility of increasing the employment… in the area somewhere down the road,” she said.

“To take this step up and put this facility in place and still try to farm on the side, that’s pretty impressive. You really have to respect that kind of dedication.”