Cattle producers are welcoming the planned return of substantial federally-inspected slaughter capacity to Manitoba.

Calvin Vaags, president and owner of Plains Processors Ltd. at Carman, has announced plans to expand the plant's processing capacity from 80 head per week to 1,000 head per week, with the intent of also becoming federally-licensed.

"It certainly gives us more options and the more options we have, the better off we are," says Jay Fox, President of the Manitoba Beef Producers. "It also has the potential to increase our economic impact provincially and federally."

He says the plant could have a major impact on Manitoba's beef industry.

"1,000 head a week, that takes care of almost our full production of fat cattle," he says.

After not having any medium-to-large federally-inspected plant in Manitoba for years, Fox says he's confident the plant can be sustainable.

"A key component is proper management. Obviously, the plant managers have been able to put forward a good business plan and that's what matters," he says. "Support from government and producers is also key."

Vaags says they plan to complete construction by next spring. Production will slowly increase to full capacity over the next several years.

~ Thursday, March 31, 2011 ~

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