A Midwest meat processor has outgrown its current meat production plant and is looking to invest $60 million to develop a 150,000 square-foot facility on a 30-acre parcel in Wisconsin, with the potential to expand up to 300,000 square feet. The facility will be capable of harvesting up to 500 heads per day.
Last fall, the CEO of a family-run business told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that their growth comes from its grass-fed and organic beef lines, as well its core veal and lamb business. Pre-COVID-19 consumer trends, particularly for millennials, leaned heavily toward organics, sustainable packaging, and ready-to-eat foods, even if they came with a higher price point. Then, the chaos created by the pandemic created a greater desire among consumers to know where their food is sourced. And with the temporary shutdowns of larger processors, consumers may find comfort purchasing more food locally, especially those guaranteed pure organic.
With safety always top of mind, the new facility incorporates the 11 principles of sanitary facility design. Employee welfare areas are designed with separate harvest, processing, and fabrication areas. Transfer corridors are incorporated to avoid cross contamination and room entrances are limited to control foot traffic. Production is critical at these facilities; therefore, a walk-on insulted metal panel ceiling will allow for ongoing maintenance to occur on mechanical systems when the plant is in operation.
Temperature control is also central to the design. A temperature-controlled barn will regulate temperature for humane livestock handling and minimize offensive malodorous smell. A central ammonia refrigeration system was recommended to be the most efficient for the greenfield plant, and hygienic rooftop air units will be in all production areas.
Finally, the site will be secure to protect livestock and the truck yard. A future truck maintenance facility has been built into the design, complete with a fueling island. And a storm water detention pond is designed for the full build-out to keep water away from the facility. Production is expected to begin by the second quarter of 2022.
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