NORTHFIELD, MINN. — Valley Natural Foods has acquired 16 acres of land to build a meat processing plant that will operate under the name Valley Natural Meats. The $2 million dollar project will fund a building that will be retrofitted and be able to supply the demand of livestock producers in Minnesota counties.
Valley Natural Meats, a subsidiary of Valley Natural Foods, will include a fully organic, certified meat processing plant. The plant will produce smoked and cured meats, hams and sausages. Organic meat has increased in popularity by 30% since 2007, according to the company.
|Jason Harstad, c.e.o. of Valley Natural Meats.|
“Our new processing facility will be different from most smaller, niche plants in that it will process naturally and humanely raised, grass and organic-grain fed, locally produced meats, and will be one of a few certified, organic multi-species beef and meat processors in the entire state,” said Jason Harstad, chief executive officer of Valley Natural Meats.
Valley Natural Meats will begin operations in late 2016, and will produce around 25 heads per day, the company said. One of Valley Natural Meat’s goals is to become U.S.D.A.-certified, a move that would allow the company to sell products outside of its base of operations in Minnesota. In 2018 the company expects to produce deer and bison products.“In Minnesota, particularly the South Central and Southwestern areas of the state, direct-market producers are faced with a lack of local processing capacity,” Mr. Harstad said. “This requires farmers to reserve processing time up to six months in advance, often resulting in the animals being ‘past prime’ for processing, and causing instability of supplying their retail/wholesale channels. In addition, longer transport distances to processing facilities increases cost to the producers and can affect the health and quality of the animals. Given these conditions, we believe Valley Natural Meats can share and effectively manage the organic, natural market.”