Pork Processing Plant Ramp-Up Going Smoothly

by 5m Editor
8 March 2011, at 11:27am

CANADA - The senior vice-president of Donald's Fine Foods reports the ramp-up of the company's newly renovated Thunder Creek Pork processing plant in Moose Jaw has been going well, writes Bruce Cochrane.

In the spring of 2010 Langley, B.C. based Donald's Fine Foods purchase the former Moose Jaw Packers pork processing plant in Moose Jaw which had been sitting idle for almost four years.

Following over eight months of renovations the facility re-opened under the name Thunder Creek Pork and began processing its first hogs 19 January.

Donald's Fine Foods senior vice-president Tony Martinez says, to accommodate the production of fresh product, the facility required quite a few upgrades and because it had been laying idle there were quite a few problems but the company is happy with the way things have gone.

Tony Martinez-Donald's Fine Foods

Right now we're running about 500 head a day there.

The ramp-up has been going well.

We were fortunate enough to get a good base of skilled people that were formerly employed at the XL facility in Moose Jaw so that really helped us.

The equipment similar to any other pork plant.

We're probably not as automated given our line speed as some of the bigger guys but in terms of new equipment we've obviously gone to a cryovac packing system and some rearrangements in the pack-off and those type of things so we can produce fresh product out of that facility and in addition to that we're rolling along.

Our hog supply, we knew going in was going to be a challenge but we're seeming to find those hogs out there.

We're buying Saskatchewan pigs and a lot of them within a decent proximity of the facility, three to four hours and some an hour away.

Mr Martinez says in total the plant is currently employing about 120 people but that will move to about 200 once the facility reaches full capacity of one thousand to 11 hundred head per day.

He says the hope is to reach full capacity by late April or early May.