Harmony Beef to reopen

Canada’s newest federally inspected meat plant, Harmony Beef is scheduled to open Feb. 27.

The plant will process about 50 head per day and will escalate until it reaches 800 head, said Cam Daniels, director of marketing.

The long awaited opening of the former Rancher’s Beef plant northeast of Calgary suffered delays with municipal permits and other setbacks since Rich Vesta, formerly of JBS USA purchased the operation in 2013.

“The Vestas are not cutting any corners. They are doing everything right and they are not going to flip the switch until everything is right” Daniels said.

Vesta was known for his ability to turn around struggling operations and has worked with Packerland, Land O’Lakes dairy-based co-operative, Swift meat packing company and JBS USA. He had retired but a group of Canadian producers encouraged him to buy the mothballed plant closed since 2006.

He and his sons Christopher and Jeremy created Harmony Beef with the intention of offering a high quality niche product.

Written cattle supply agreements are long term and they plan to procure cattle on the open market as well.

“We want to create a niche but initially we will start with commodity based cattle until they start their specific programming,” said Daniels.

The entire plant was gutted and renovated to meet the newest standards of food safety and processing efficiency.

They intend to run the processing lines more slowly at a rate of about six feet per minute so more attention is paid to each carcass for food safety and quality control.

“We are not volume driven. We are quality driven,” he said.

Cattle will be held on site in an enclosed barn where they will be processed the day they arrive. There is cooler space for 1,000 carcasses.

Alberta Processors in Calgary is handling rendering so there will be no odour from the plant.

Barbara.duckworth@producer.com

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