Natures Crops International: hiring needs
by Gloria Welton
Natures Crops International in Kensington is a leading manufacturer and supplier of specialty oils for dietary supplements, food, and personal care products for humans, horses, and dogs.
“We are vertically integrated from soil to oil,” says Crystal Cormier, VP of Operations. “We grow oilseed crops globally, manufacture those crops into oil, and sell the oil.”
There are office locations in Canada, the US and the UK. The company’s only oilseed production facility and refinery is located in Kensington and was commissioned in 2010.
The production facility mechanically extracts oil from the seeds and the refinery removes all impurities from the oil.
“We also have an on–site quality control laboratory, which monitors every step of our operation, from the planting seed that goes out to our growers, harvested seed coming back in, and every step of our process in crushing and in the refinery. The facility is ISO-22000 certified, and our lab is fully capable of supplying a certificate of analysis for all the oil that comes from our facility.”
They have three main products:
Ahiflower oil is the richest non-genetically modified plant-based source of Omega-3-6-9 oil currently available on the market. Ahiflower oil is commonly found in nutraceuticals, nutritional supplements, food ingredients, and animal nutrition.
Crambe or Abyssinian oil is grown locally on PEI. It is high in erucic acid and is used in personal care products.
Meadowfoam seed oil is known for its stability and is used in personal care products. The seeds are grown in Oregon in the US and processed on PEI.
“Due to increased demand, the company has increased the production of Crambe and Meadowfoam seed. This is very good news for Island growers of Crambe.”
Currently, there are 18 year-round staff. Facility Manager Garth Cole, who has been with the company for 13 years, says finding the right staff has been challenging in the last few years. “We try to promote staff from within the company when possible, but we’re growing right now and need to add new positions, so promoting from within is not always possible for every position” says Garth.
The company is planning to hire five or six Crushing Labourers for temporary seasonal employment from late August to the end of November. The right people for these positions must be reliable and willing to learn. New staff will be trained and paired with experienced staff and will work on the oil extraction side of the process.
“We have a big crop harvest coming up and will be extending our operating hours from September to November to process the crop.”
The company is also planning to hire two full-time, permanent Crushing Labourers.
“Production staff work four 12-hour daytime shifts one week and three 12-hour nighttime shifts the next week. This schedule offers three or four days off in a row every week. All of our production staff really like the shift structure and enjoy the benefit of having three or four days off in a row each week.
“The company has a good compliment of staff, but we have noticed in the past year that when we advertise, fewer resumés are coming to us. This is a concern. We are open to looking at each resumé that comes to our company to see if a fit is possible.
“The main part of our operation is in the production facility, and we look for people with production experience and mechanical and equipment-related experience to fill those positions.”
Garth says wages are competitive and they offer a good benefit package which includes a pension program.