TORONTO, ONTARIO – An investment of up to $2.09 million is being made to help Ryding-Regency Meat Packers Ltd. improve its operations and capture new markets for Canadian farmers, Canadian Member of Parliament Paul Calandra (Oak Ridges - Markham) announced on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.

"Canada's Economic Action Plan continues to help Ontario livestock farmers, meat packers and processors maintain their competitive edge in the marketplace," Calandra said. "This investment will allow Ryding-Regency Meat Packers to upgrade their plant facilities and give local farmers more opportunities to boost their bottom line."

Ryding-Regency is the second-largest federally-inspected abattoir in Ontario, which processes beef, veal and lamb. The company exports high-quality products to communities across Canada and the north-eastern United States.

The funding will help ensure Canada's agriculture sector remains self-sufficient and less reliant on long-haul shipments for slaughter, according to a news release. Installing more-efficient systems on their production lines and an upgraded computer tracking system will help the plant reduce costs, increase efficiency and be better positioned to capture new niche markets for farmers, locally and internationally.

"On behalf of Ryding-Regency Meat Packers, I would like to express our appreciation for the support and significant investment by government in our business and industry," said Joe Petronaci, Ryding-Regency president and owner. "We are grateful for the opportunity to upgrade our facility through essential innovation and technology deemed necessary to meet the changing requirements of industry in order to remain competitive."

The Government of Canada's $60-million Slaughter Improvement Program, as part of Canada's Economic Action Plan, makes repayable contributions available to support sound business plans aimed at reducing costs, increasing revenues and improving operations of red meat packing and processing operations in Canada.

Totaling more than $20 billion in sales, the red-meat industry is Canada's single-largest employer in the food industry.