Na-taillie Ranch aims to increase from 2,500 to 15,000 breeders
By Ashley Fitzpatrick
Na-taillie Ranch in Cormack is under new management, and that management wants to expand the fur farm.
“Our goal is to create one of the largest and technologically advanced mink farms in Canada,” Dag Larsen and Shirlee Weiss state in a filing with the provincial Department of Environment and Conservation.
They would see Na-taillie Ranch move from 2,500 female breeder mink to 15,000 breeders over the course of about two years.
Being able to house 50,000-70,000 black and mahogany mink requires some construction, an extra 20 acres of land and millions in spending up front.
“We bought the farm for $1.5 million. We invested already $1.2 million and we’re going to invest another $4 million,” Larsen said in an interview with The Telegram Thursday.
The plan is to move from four to 10 animal sheds on site, with new additions each about 121 metres long.
The plan is now under environmental assessment, with public comments due Oct. 1.
If given the green light, Larsen wants two more sheds up before the snow comes, with the rest available by winter 2014.
He said the Town of Cormack has welcomed the idea for the re-vamped and expanded enterprise, particularly given features such as an automated manure-handling system for the sheds.
At the end of the expansion, the farm is expected to have eight full-time, regular employees and two foremen.
As long as fur prices remain stable, Larsen expects to pay off the additions after two to three years of production.
“To have any farm today below 10,000 breeders … it’s not very profitable,” he said. “A farm becomes profitable when you have everything from 8,000 up to 25,000 breeders. And you can see in Europe and all the way elsewhere, normally a farm has that.”