Steve Kay, Editor, Cattle Buyers Weekly

Top-quality, clean, ‘green’ beef is the future

"A new generation of beef processing plants will start to emerge by 2024. Most of today’s largest plants were built in the 1970s and 1980s. While they have been significantly upgraded, they are unsuited to meet the challenges of the next 30 years. The largest names — Tyson, Cargill, JBS and National  —will find themselves competing with names we haven’t yet heard of.

"A blueprint for what the plant of the future will look like already exists. It’s in Balzac, Alberta, at a plant that will reopen in the middle of this year after closing in 2007. The plant will harvest only 750 head/day to enable it to produce the most finely crafted beef possible. Whatever its customers want, it will produce.

Steve Kay"It will also be one of the most energy-efficient plants in the world. For example, it will use a European water-recycling system that will cut its water use tenfold from normal usage. It will also have completely separate hide-on and hide-off departments, and sophisticated tracking systems.

"Other plants like Balzac will be built and succeed because they will satisfy consumers’ demands to know exactly where their beef originates, so consumers can feel good about the “sustainability” of that beef. Top-quality, clean, “green” beef will be the wave of the future."