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Sask. producers plan to build new abattoir

Work is expected to begin this fall on a new abattoir in Alameda, Sask., after a group of producers decided the region needed more slaughter capacity.

South East Butcher Block Co-operative formed last year and will take over and expand an existing business.

The current owner of Davis Meats, Murray Carnduff, who had planned to retire, has agreed to manage the new abattoir for five years, said spokesperson Justin Marcotte. It will be built on the same property as the current facility, on Highway 9, but expanded to handle 20 head per week, as well as sheep and hogs.

Marcotte said the plant currently processes about eight head weekly and has a waiting list of longer than a year.

“The need is there and since COVID it’s worse,” he said, referring to increasing consumer demand to know where their food comes from.

The committee has been courting investors through producer and consumer shares to raise the capital they need for the construction. Marcotte said final building quotes weren’t yet in but between $1 and $1.5 million is likely needed.

“As a co-op, we’re purchasing an existing business, so it’s profitable from day one,” he said, referring to the risk.

Consumers will benefit because the plant will have fresh retail offerings in addition to the traditional frozen larger cuts.

Offering consumer shares at $500 each allows customers to tap into the direct market and buy the local products they want, he added.

Longer term plans call for deli-style lunches and perhaps bakery and other items to make Butcher Block a destination business.

“You’re going to the lake, you stop by Butcher Block on the way to the cabin,” he said.

A delivery truck making a loop that includes Weyburn, Estevan, Carlyle and Stoughton is also a possibility in a year or two, he added. It would deliver boxed beef packs.

Marcotte said the goal is to open next summer and employ about 10 full- and part-time people in the community of about 345.

Par: Karen Briere (11/08/2022)

Source: (The Western Producer)

Photo: Justin Marcotte | Facebook

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