Harmony Beef faces delay

Canada’s newest beef processing plant is not likely to open until the first quarter of 2016, said company owner Rich Vesta.

Harmony Beef, located northeast of Calgary, could process 800 head per day but it might be two more years before it reaches full production, Vesta told the Canadian Angus Association convention June 5.

“When we got here, we really underestimated what we had to do to this plant,” he said.

The refrigeration capacity was doubled and that project is just being completed. However, water treatment has been the biggest obstacle.

The plant will use about 350,000 gallons per day but with its European designed treatment system, a portion can be recycled and purified.

“It will be the first in North America. It is common in Europe,” said Vesta.

Once the plant is running, it will handle about 135 cattle per day. It must operate for three months before it obtains export permits. It will employ more than 300 people.

The plant once had European Union certification but since it has been closed since 2005, it must be certified again.

The 75,000 sq. foot plant is the former Rancher’s Beef operation, built by a group of beef producers in response to the BSE crisis when live cattle were not eligible for export.

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