Ocean Spray breaks ground on huge cranberry farm in Rogersville, N.B.

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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ROGERSVILLE, N.B. - Almost the entire village of Rogersville was shut down Thursday as officials from Ocean Spray broke ground on what they say will be the largest cranberry farm in North America.
Addressing a crowd in front of a sparkling Lake Despres, company CEO Randy Papadellis shared his vision for the 3,400-hectare swath of rich, sandy land by the lake.
Papadellis said the focus now turns to establishing the first 60 hectares of cranberry beds at a cost of $8 million.
The ambitious $90-million investment could eventually lead to upwards of 760 hectares being planted in the area over the next several years, creating about 100 jobs.
"This is an exciting day for our company; I was absolutely shocked to drive down the road and see all of these cars here," said Papadellis.
Papadellis said the presence of the Massachusetts company in New Brunswick could generate up to $45 million annually for the provincial economy.
"Our sales this year will be up close to 10 per cent, our profits are up close to 20 per cent, and our return per barrel, which is what we pay our growers for the cranberries, will be the highest in the (78-year) history of the co-op, so we're doing remarkably well," he said.
Premier Shawn Graham praised Ocean Spray for selecting New Brunswick among many suitors as the site for expanding its cranberry production.
"This is the beginning of a new identity for this village and for our entire province," he said.
"This is certainly one of the biggest announcements we've seen in this region for a long time."
Over 25 guidelines have been put in place to protect water quality and quantity, fish habitat, and archaeological resources around the site at Lake Despres, said Agricultural Minister Roland Hache.
The new farm is expected to have its first crop in 2012.

Geographic location: Rogersville, Lake Despres, New Brunswick North America Massachusetts

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