The 2017-2018 pool of nominees for The National Provisioner’s annual Plant of the Year award ran the gamut of types and products. From a corn-dog plant, to a one-stop protein processing shop, to a brand new beef processing facility, it certainly was a varied selection this year. When the voting ended in August 2018, the brand new CS Beef Processors plant in Kuna, Idaho, stood as the winner of The National Provisioner’s 2018 Plant of the Year award.
As we do each year, we asked our readers to vote for the top plant among all those visited for cover stories from June 2017 through May 2018. We thank all the nominees for access to their facilities, which allows us to stick closely to our mission to give our readers that unmatched, first-hand look into the operations of some of the most innovative and progressive processors in the business.
CS Beef Packers — the company — was formed out of a joint venture between J.R. Simplot & Co. and Caviness Beef Packers, and announced in January 2015 that it would pursue construction of a brand new beef-processing facility in Kuna, Idaho. The plant was built and started operation in June 2018, and The National Provisioner’s editor-in-chief, Andy Hanacek, was the first to get an in-person tour of the plant — after which the magazine profiled the plant on its November 2017 cover.
Caviness Beef Packers, for its part, has had a whirlwind of success over the last several years, between this joint venture and its own success in Texas. In fact, in August 2018, Caviness announced the planned expansion of its own facility in Hereford, Texas, to enable the addition of a second harvest and processing shift. This expansion will bring 600 additional jobs to the facility and enable Caviness to process an additional 800 head per day, bringing the total daily capacity to 2,600 head. Construction for this project will begin in October 2018 with completion expected to be in early fall of 2019.
Trevor Caviness, president, Caviness Beef Packers, took a few moments to update Hanacek on the CS Beef Packers facility, despite the whirlwind of good news surrounding both companies.
When The National Provisioner visited the Kuna plant, it had only been open a few months, but operations already had ramped up quite nicely. In fact, Caviness says that very little has changed in the operations space — the company has mainly made simple tweaks to platforms or conveyors. As of press time, the plant is harvesting 1,400 head per day, compared to just under 1,000 per day at the time of the cover story visit.
That said, plans to expand the plant to allow for a state-of-the-art ground-beef production division were in place already. Caviness says that the walls for the expansion have been constructed and floors have been poured.
“We look to produce our first ground beef in late November,” he added. That expansion is the primary focus of CS Beef Packers at this time. NP