CARGILL announced last month that it would invest a combined $7.8 million to install new equipment at two of its Pennsylvania meat production facilities to meet growing demand in the region.
The company will upgrade its case-ready meat packaging plant in Hazleton, Pa., and expand production at its ground beef processing operation in Wyalusing, Pa.
The larger of its two planned enhancement projects is a $5.5 million installation of new equipment technology to increase the efficiency of its Hazleton operation, improving the plant's product quality and online ergonomics for workers.
The upgrade will feature new equipment ranging from an automated product line dedicated to making specific products for customers to an integrated network to centralize the monitoring of equipment performance and production.
Additionally, a new automated system for weighing boxes and labeling products is being installed in the case-ready operation, as well as equipment to automatically construct shipping boxes. The new install will also add automated steak-trimming equipment to the facility's capabilities.
Established as part of Hazleton's Humboldt Industrial Park in 2002, Cargill's 230,000 sq. ft. facility produces meat products that are packaged and ready to go directly into retailer meat cases throughout the northeastern U.S. The plant employs 640 workers.
Meanwhile, roughly 80 miles to the north, the company's beef processing facility in Wyalusing will get a $2.3 million facelift featuring the installation of new ground beef production and packaging equipment. The equipment is expected to add significant ground beef production capacity while also boosting the plant's employment by 15-20 full-time jobs.
"Cargill produces more ground beef than any other company in the world, and demand continues to be strong for this form of protein as an American staple food," said Andy Ripic, Cargill vice president and plant general manager at Wyalusing. "Our customers have told us they would like us to produce more ground beef to meet demand.
"With the arrival of spring, we will soon be getting into the grilling season, so installing equipment, adding jobs and filling the ground beef needs for retailers we serve in the Northeast is a win for everyone involved," Ripic added.
Built in 1942 by Taylor Packing Co., Cargill acquired the Wyalusing beef plant in 2002. The operation employs 1,150 workers and processes up to 1,800 head of cattle daily. Cargill said the facility is one of the largest beef processing plants on the East Coast.
The Wyalusing facility produces beef for retail and foodservice customers throughout the northeastern U.S. and is one of nine beef processing facilities Cargill operates in North America.