Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman (left) and WestGen board president Tony DeGroot at the sod turning on Wednesday.

Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman (left) and WestGen board president Tony DeGroot at the sod turning on Wednesday.

WestGen relocates to Abbotsford

Sod turning event marks beginning of WestGen’s latest development.

Wednesday marked the beginning of construction for the new home of WestGen. The homegrown livestock genetics company is relocating its headquarters to Abbotsford after 65 years in Milner, B.C.

The company celebrated a sod-turning event at its future home at 1395 Angus Campbell Road on Feb. 26.

“This facility here, as the one in Milner, B.C., does now, will house the most genetically superior beef and dairy cattle in Canada and indeed North America, and therefore the world,” said board president Tony DeGroot in a press release.

Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman and city councillor Henry Braun were also present.

“We are incredibly proud that you chose our city to make your new headquarters,” Banman told WestGen at the event. “We hope you are here for a long, long time.”

WestGen finally chose Abbotsford as its new home because of the city’s deep ties in the agricultural industry.

“Moving to Abbotsford was not an easy decision,” admitted CEO Chris Parry. “We thought long and hard about whether we move WestGen at all but we realize as a company we need to be connected to our agriculture industry and the heart of the dairy industry. That’s why we came to Abbotsford.”

In 2014, WestGen celebrates 70 years of service to dairy and beef producers. The past year has been especially productive.

“Over the past year, we’ve seen a big evolution at WestGen as a company,” said Parry. “We have a new look, but we also have new businesses. We’ve talked about them before: Cryogen, Boviteq West and our Semex investments. They are not just bringing in revenue locally. These are bringing revenue in from Western Canada and all over the world. And we need to remember that and we need to celebrate that.”