North 49 Foods Officially Opens Federally Inspected Sow Processing Facility at Moose Jaw

Nov 06, 2023

A new cull sow processing facility in Moose Jaw will reduce the distance these animals must travel while avoiding the challenges associated with moving them across an international border.North 49 Foods, a subsidiary of British Columbia based Donald's Fine Foods, officially opened its new state-of-the-art 120,000 square foot federally inspected sow processing facility at Moose Jaw last week.

Neil Ketilson, the industry relations manager with North 49 Foods, says the new facility is located on the site of the former XL beef plant which was completely remodelled and will start operating this week.

Quote-Neil Ketilson-North 49 Foods:

There really isn't a large sow processing plant in Canada.There's two smaller ones in Manitoba that we're aware and they certainly do a good job but they don't have the capacity to do what's out there.

There's about 200 thousand animals that would actually be assembled in western Canada, shipped all the way into the United States, a lot of them for 15 hundred kilometers or more so that's about a 15-hour ride for a lot of these animals.It really didn't make a lot of sense.

We thought there was a niche for us in this market, certainly something that could be harvested here in the prairies.Moose Jaw is ideal because it's kind of in between all three prairie provinces so, from a transportation point of view, it makes a lot of sense and it's also extremely good for the industry in terms of the biosecurity it provides in not having to cross the U.S. border and come back as well as the border risks of anything that might happen that would disrupt the flow animals.

From an industry point of view, it's a win-win situation.We've had tremendous support from producers right across western Canada and industry leaders as well so it's really a positive move for all of us.

Ketilson notes the ramp up will occur over the next few months as new equipment is fine tuned and staff is trained.He expects the plant to begin operating with about 80 people, 42 of which are already employed at the plant and will grow to about 200 over the first year.

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