December 8, 2008

Canada's new Keystone Processors to open more opportunities for investors, farmers



Farmer-owned Natural Prairie Beef Inc. and the Manitoba Cattle Enhancement Council announced the formation of Keystone Processors Ltd. on Thursday (December 4) with an aim to invite more farmers and investors in Canada.


Last summer, the two companies announced they would renovate the former Maple Leaf pork plant into a beef processing and, eventually, a slaughter facility which will cost the facility of about C$25 million. The plant is expected to slaughter and process 250 head of cattle a day sometime in 2010 and will double thereafter.


The two partners said they expect to welcome new investors as the plant begins operations early next year.


Corry Berndsen, Keystone's vice-president of operations said this new flexible corporate structure is "best for all parties because it envisions multiple companies investing in and utilizing this new beef plant for the benefit of all Manitoba beef producers."


The St. Boniface plant will also process more than so-called 'natural' beef -- meat from animals raised free of antibiotics and growth hormones -- the specialty of Natural Prairie Beef, a Manitoba company owned by beef producers.


Kate Butler, executive director of the cattle enhancement council, which has invested C$2.4 million in the venture said the new facility will accept investment and cattle for all Manitoba producers, whether they're raising natural, organic or conventional cattle.


Initially, the facility will be provincially inspected and licensed, meaning its products can only be marketed within Manitoba.

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