Producers in upstate New York say that a proposed meat processing plant neat Watertown would be a “game-changer” for the state’s beef industry. The $20.6 million facility could eventually handle 100,000 animals per year in an area that has large cattle herds but only a few processing facilities, The Saratogian reports.

“One of the greatest impediments to growing the beef industry in New York is the lack of available USDA-inspected slaughter plants in the state,” said Todd Kusnierz, a Moreau beef producer. “With this new slaughter facility, farmers will be able to offer locally-grown beef directly to consumers, increasing their bottom line, which will provide for expansion of the beef industry in New York.”

Kusnierz, a Moreau Town Board member, is also chief of staff for state Senator Patty Ritchie, R-St. Lawrence County, and is director of the Senate Agriculture Committee, which she chairs.

Many of the cattle raised in the area are sent to a Pennsylvania facility for slaughter. The developer hopes to break ground on the proposed New York Meat Co. plant next year. Phase I and II would include a processing and packaging plant, offices, a retail store and a classroom for Jefferson Community College culinary arts students. Future plans would include refrigerated warehousing and distribution facilities.

Source: The Saratogian