For those of you not aware we have changed the name from Oram General Merchants to West Bridgeford Meats. The reason for the change is simple. We went from a partnership to a limited corporation. As the demand for growth has come about we decided to do a total face-lift on the company.
Why are we doing this and why change an existing good business? Producers need a broader market. By going from a health inspected to a domestic inspected slaughter & processing will open the doors to sell “our” product anywhere in Saskatchewan. The producer can advertise his/her finished product to anyone in Saskatchewan, the restaurants, grocery stores, even other manufacturers. West Bridgeford Meats can sell their products be it sausage, deli meats, steaks, etc to any other store or restaurant in the province. This widens the market enormously; roughly 500,000 more people.
Custom Processing has grown from 60,000 pounds a year in 1999 to 397,000 pounds in 2005. Many factors have created the increase in processing. Our Tugaske facility restricts us to 10 – 15 head per week. As our cooling ability only cools 1500 pounds per day within the time frame required. This plant will give us capability to move from roughly 500 head per year to 5,000 head per year. We will be able to kill and cool 20 head per day. They will then be transported in a refer limit to the cut facility in Tugaske.
The first change is a name change. We are very excited to announce the name change. The entire business will now be called West Bridgeford Meats Ltd.
The second change is a level change in our processing and slaughter. We are moving up from a health inspected processing to a domestic inspected slaughter and processing. What does this mean to you as a producer? It means you can now sell your carcasses whether it is in halves or in packages anywhere in Saskatchewan. It will be at least the end of summer or the fall before this stage is complete.
With inspected kill there are changes that are being made at the slaughter facility. The slaughter building was started last fall and is near completion. Six holding pens will be ready by fall for patrons to keep loads separate. We are designing these on the basis of zero stress. Patrons will be able to stand animals over night if they wish, to allow animals time to relax after transport. Also for patrons who wish, they will have the opportunity to handle their own cattle during the slaughter process. A low stress kill floor emulates the type of kill one would get on his own farm. We believe that the quality of the finished product is dependent on a low stress kill. The holding pens will have water and feed available at all times. An office and washroom for the inspector as well as a public washroom must be set up. Once this stage is finalized, animals will go through the inspected kill on a designated day or days.
How did we manage all this? In November 2004 we began construction on our own. A group approached us and asked if they could help speed this up. We couldn’t turn them down. We were excited that someone had faith in our ability to expand and improve upon an already growing business. Thanks to the first initial group for nudging us along to doing this sooner versus later. We set up the corporation and contracts. There are shares available to purchase. We have a limited number to sell and a limited number of investors that we can take in. There are three share types. The minimum requirement that we needed to move from health inspected to domestic inspection has been met.
We have several products to utilize older animals, which we are expanding on. The domestic inspection and processing will allow us to do this. Here are a few of our ideas. We have developed 16 flavors of sausage, 5 deli loaves, fully cooked stew, corn beef and beef bacon – the flavors keep growing. These products are available and can be ordered out of your own meat. In the pet line, food, treats and chews can be shipped Canada wide. These are a few of the items, which will utilize older cows and bulls as we are designing products and this new facility around a post-BSE beef economy.
The funding for this plant is completely producer and ourselves. No government money has been used nor is available for a plant of this size.
A sample of our new pet line “Pawsitively Bridgeford” will be on hand to show how we are utilizing our investor’s non marketable, healthy older animals. These animals include all beef, bison, and ovine. We currently produce more of this on a weekly basis than any other product. This is a healthy raw diet that is safe even for human consumption. We are extremely excited about the pet line because it has multiplied 10 fold production in two years, with minimal or no promotion. This is the first product of West Bridgeford Meats able to be sold across Canada.
The website is under construction!
The address is www.westbridgefordmeats.com. There are tracking codes on the site, which will be on each package of product that will show the consumer exactly where the meat came from. From the package the customer can go to the website type in the tracking code and bring up information on the producer. The information can contain contact information, history, breeding programs, vaccination & de-worming programs, general care, etc. The producers do their own write up to let people know about them and their farm, ranch, dairy herd or swine operation. We do have some bios up on the website. We now have a cut sheet on line for the customer to fill in and e-mail. This is of great help to the first time meat purchasers, as well to the repeat customers. The e-mail cut sheet offers tips and advise on cuts and how the cuts relate to the carcass. Please go check out the website!
The addition of this slaughter facility increases our capability from a 600 head per year plant to a 5,000 head per year plant. We have geared this operation to be self sustainable for offal disposal and the disposal of SRM’s will be achieved by incineration in a mechanism that will allow for heat capture thus reducing utility expenses and disposal costs. The offal will be utilized in the “Pawsitively Bridgeford” pet products line. We developed the pet line to use un-saleable older animals, thus providing the producer with a venue for cull animals. We expect to use about 2,000 head per year of cull animals at full capacity. Each producer will eventually have the opportunity to market 40 head per year of cull animals. As a share-holder, producers become the exclusive suppliers to the “West Bridgeford Meats” and “Pawsitively Bridgeford”.