Saskatchewan produces 30 per cent of Canada’s beef cattle, but with no federally-inspected packing facilities here, the province and its producers are selling all that potential value out-of-province — and at a discount.
The province’s current beef cow herd is approximately 1.1 million head, with roughly the same number of calves born each year. A quarter million head are exported either to other provinces or United States for slaughter every year, and more than a million leave the province as feeder cattle.
Creating processing capacity in Saskatchewan would add value to beef exported as meat products and incentivize more feeding operations.
“COVID showed us where the present value chain is weak,” said SSGA President Garner Deobald. “Bottlenecks at the two big Alberta plants distorted the supply-and-demand dynamic, and it’s the cow-calf producers who suffered the most.”
The study shows that with the right marketing strategies and plant management, a Saskatchewan-based packing facility could be commercially-viable, which would introduce more competition for animals, to the benefit of producers and feeders. It would also reduce trucking distances, increase employment, and carry animal-welfare benefits.
Deobald said a plant would help the province reach its goal of more than $1 billion in meat processing and animal feed value-added revenue by 2030. It would also generate increased investment and opportunity in the province.
“This would be good news for the province and its beef industry. Along with the provincial government’s proposal to expand irrigation, a packing plant has terrific potential for growing our livestock feeding sector.”
The report confirms what SSGA believed — that with the right partners, investors and management, a small or medium-sized packing plant could succeed.
“Catching the attention of potential investors to a business venture is a necessity. They want the essential components to build an optimistic, long-term vision with a realistic, measurable plan to achieve it. The Ministry funded this project to lay the groundwork for investors to grow Saskatchewan’s processing sector,” he said.
In the coming months, SSGA will work with government and industry stakeholders to highlight business incentives, identify the best locations to build a new plant, explore ideas for optimizing processing efficiencies, and then present this information to potential investors for next-level discussions.
For more information contact:
SK Stock Growers Association
(306) 541-5023 | firstname.lastname@example.org