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Canadian chicken executive to "cross the border" for Valley business leaders breakfast at UMFK October 3

September 26, 2003


The manager of New Brunswick's only poultry processing plant in St. François, across the border from Fort Kent, which was destroyed by fire a year-and-a-half-ago and has since been replaced by a new state-of-the-art $18 million facility, will speak at a business networking breakfast at the University of Maine at Fort Kent on Friday, October 3 at 7:30 a.m. in Nowland Hall.

John Feenstra, general manager of Nadeau Poultry Farm Ltd., which is part of the Maple Lodge Group, will be the featured speaker at the season's first breakfast gathering of St. John Valley business leaders from both sides of the border at UMFK.

The veteran in the poultry processing industry has overseen operations at Nadeau in St. François for 14 years, and has worked, in various capacities, in the "business" for nearly five decades.

His greatest challenge came in February of 2002, when he and 200 company employees stood by helplessly as the plant he headed, which had just undergone a $6 million upgrade, was engulfed in flames.

Feenstra, bolstered by company employees and the Northwestern New Brunswick community, rallied to get the plant reconstructed in a short eight months.

In addition to being rebuilt in record time, the new 100,000 square foot plant, which is responsible for 100 percent of New Brunswick's total chicken production, is more cost effective and efficient than the one it replaced at the same site. The plant currently employs 240 people on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian Border.

"Mr. Feenstra represents an industry that is critical to the region's economy," said Diane Nadeau-Saucier, executive director for corporate relations and coordinator of the business breakfast series at UMFK. "All area businesspersons can benefit from the Nadeau Poultry Farm story and should find any future plans for the plant very interesting."

Feenstra's presentation will focus on the story of his company's "rising from the ashes", as well as changes in the industry and future plans for the Nadeau Plant. His address will draw reference to his nearly 50 year history in the business.

The poultry processing executive began his career in the industry in 1955, when he went to work killing chickens. Within months he left the job for a delivery position. Between 1955 and 1971, he worked in distribution both in the plant and on a truck.

In the 1970's Feenstra moved to a position in sales and spent much of the 1980's in the United States.

In 1989, he was tapped to oversee the production at Nadeau in St. François and has remained on the job since that time.

Although he runs the Northwestern New Brunswick poultry plant, the general manager commutes home to Ontario on weekends, where his family continues to reside.

Feenstra immigrated with his family to Canada from Holland in 1951.

The Business Networking Breakfast will feature a buffet-style breakfast. Tickets for the event are $7 and must be purchased in advance through the university's corporate relations office. A limited number are available.

For more information or to purchase tickets contact Nadeau-Saucier at 834-7800.