U.S. company trying to buy closed Rancher’s Beef plant in Alberta

An American company is in negotiations to buy the former Rancher’s Beef, a large processing facility northeast of Calgary that has been shuttered for the last six years.

Vesta Holdings of Colorado will invest more than $18 million renovating Rancher’s Beef with plans to take over the plant from owners Sunterra Farms of Acme, Alta., Nov. 1.

The company will reopen as Harmony Beef after renovations are completed in about six months. It will initially process about 700 cattle per day in a state-of-the-art, high technology facility, according to a news release issued Oct. 16.

Part of the renovations include installing a European water recycling system to ensure that the plant uses less water than similar sized facilities in North America. Similar technology upgrades are planned to maximize worker and food safety, humane animal handling and data collection.

At the helm is Rich Vesta, who has been in the meat processing business for nearly 50 years. He retired two years ago as U.S. beef division president of the multinational processing giant JBS, where he was responsible for more than $11 billion in annual revenues.

Rancher’s Beef was owned by a consortium of producers and opened in 2005 but closed 14 months later.

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