Cattle Buyers Weekly reported that, Rich Vesta, former VP and COO of Smithfield Beef Group, and subsequently president of the Beef Division of JBS, is set to acquire the former Ranchers Beef Ltd. Plant in Balzac, Alberta, which has been closed since 2007. Sunterra Farms, the current owner has agreed the purchase and the new company will be called Harmony Beef.
CBW said Vesta Holdings will invest more than $18m renovating the plant outside Calgary. Its firm commitment is to make it the highest quality beef producer and the safest and most environmentally progressive processing plant in North America.
Vesta Holdings is banking on several factors to operate the plant successfully, like that it is the only one of its size in Canada certified to sell beef to the European Union and it's small enough not to compete directly with Alberta's two large plants at High River (Cargill) and at Brooks (JBS). Yet its per-head operating costs will be competitive with larger plants due to the use of new technologies, notably over water use.