Manitoba Cattle Enhancement Council

Manitoba Cattle Enhancement Council

July 15, 2011 09:09 ET

MCEC Disappointed in Federal Withdrawal of Support

Council to Continue to Pursue New Beef Plant for Manitoba

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA--(Marketwire - July 15, 2011) - Manitoba Cattle Enhancement Council today expressed its disappointment that the announced $10 million federal loan commitment for a federally inspected beef processing plant in Manitoba has been cancelled.

In November 2009, the federal government announced its contribution to open new markets for Manitoba beef by conditionally approving a loan of up to $10 million to convert the former pork plant at 663 Marion Street in Winnipeg. The announcement was a victory for Manitoba cattle producers, as the facility would address the gap in federally inspected slaughter capacity on the prairies, so badly needed as shown during the 2003 BSE crisis.

"Manitoba beef producers need this plant," said Kate Butler, Executive Director of MCEC. "We met every condition, bringing in a world-renowned management team to put together a viable niche model plan based on their successful experience. We worked out a $18.2 million loan package from a major private bank. We kept this project on track despite demanding federal timelines. To get this news now, despite all the work done in good faith, is a shock."

MCEC remains committed to its mandate to bring export-oriented, federally inspected beef plant capacity back to Manitoba. The council has been very encouraged with the response the plant found in the market. With the committed interest of a major private bank and strong letters of interest from international food distributors, this project represents the most viable, achievable opportunity to date.

"Producer benefit and a competitive advantage are key elements that must be present in any of the projects we support. We want our investments to be around for the long haul. While this decision is clearly bad news, we have been emboldened by the level of private interest in this project and we know how badly it's needed. We are committed to the producers and people involved and are determined to make this plant a reality. We intend to pursue other private financing options and move forward for the future prosperity of Manitoba's beef producers," said Butler.

From the original purchase of the former Maple Leaf plant in July 2008 and the creation and operation of Keystone Processors Ltd. in December of 2008, to the hiring of an international management team in October 2010, MCEC has had continued efforts to address the deficit in slaughter and processing capacity in the province. The corporate reorganization in 2010 put MCEC as the majority interest in the plant for its investment to ensure producer benefit was part of the business plan.

Contact Information

  • MCEC
    Kate Butler
    Executive Director
    (204) 452-6353