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Our Opinion: A worthy project

September 20, 2001

The project to build the beef-processing plant in Brawley is going forward at a pace officials with Brawley Beef LLC hope will have the facility up and running by the end of October.

Crews are working night and day to build the super structure quickly rising in the northeast section of Brawley.

We wish the company the best of luck as it tries to meet its construction deadline, but we applaud the effort it took to bring the beef plant to the Imperial Valley.

We are talking about a facility that will employ 600 people full-time, will spark business development and will help the economy of the Valley. For those reasons and more, we are fortunate the owners of Brawley Beef chose to build here.

There is a lot of history behind the local effort to attract a beef-processing plant to the Valley. The quest dates back to the mid-1980s when the idea of luring a beef plant was first pursued. While their first attempts did not succeed, those involved persevered in trying to bring the beef-processing industry to California. Unfortunately, the industry had no interest in California.

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Finally, toward the end of the 1990s, the effort was jump-started when a group of cattlemen, both from here and outside the Valley, decided they were going to open a plant in the Southwest. The plant could have been built in Arizona but the owners ultimately chose the Valley and Brawley.

The fact that the beef plant is being built here is a credit to Brawley officials and those at other local agencies such as the Imperial Irrigation District who were willing to offer incentives to attract the project to the Valley. Those incentives made the difference. In essence, local agencies banded together because they realized what the project could do for the Valley.

There still is a long road ahead. When the plant opens it is just a beginning. Success will not be determined by the mere fact the plant opens. Success will only come after Brawley Beef officials can truly say the plant can survive and prosper.

All indications are it can. The market is close, the work force is ready, the community is supportive and the owners are serious.

We look forward to seeing 600 people employed with jobs that allow them to plan for their futures. We look forward to seeing the plant expand so the work force at the plant can double as is the plan.

That is economic progress.

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