Work continues to turn the old XL beef plant at Moose Jaw (Saskatchewan) into a new pork processing facility.

The new owners Donald's Fine Foods bought the beef plant in May of 2020, and have been working on retrofitting the facility for its new role as a sow slaughter plant.

Donald's already owns and operates the Thunder Creek pork facility in Moose Jaw.

Neil Ketilson, the industrial relations manager for Donald's Fine Foods, says work is progressing at the site.

"We're into it quite a long way actually. We're hoping to have it open and operating in 2023. We're not sure of an exact timetable yet,  because there's still some issues with the supply chain. You know getting the equipment we want and getting it installed." 

He notes there's a real need for a sow processing facility in Western Canada.

"There are 200,000 sows in Western Canada right now that go to the United States for processing. So the plant will be able to handle as many as producers will provide to the plant. Knowing there are already people out there that market these animals and so, we'll look forward to getting our share of them."

Earlier this month, the Saskatchewan government and Sask Pork announced a $1 million investment that will see a specialized cull line at the new slaughter plant that would be used in the event of an animal health disease outbreak.

Agriculture Minister David Marit said obviously, we hope that we never have to use it, but in the event that we have African swine fever somewhere in Canada, and the borders close, then obviously it really has an impact for our hog producers.

The $1 million in funding includes $700,000 from the Province and $300,000 from Sask Pork.

The new sow slaughter plant in Moose Jaw will be known as North 49 Foods.