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Another delay for beef plant

November 30, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — Officials with the under-construction beef-processing plant here have announced a second delay in the start of operations, stating the plant is now expected to open Dec. 10.

Initially, Brawley Beef LLC officials had expected the multi-million dollar facility to open in October. That date was then pushed back until Dec. 3.

On Thursday, Greg Beck, president and chief operating officer of Brawley Beef, said more construction needs to be done, forcing the weeklong delay.

Beck said of the Dec. 10 start of operations, "It's for real. It's like a rock. Bear with me. It's going to turn on the 10th."

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Beck added several hundred employees expected to start work Dec. 3. He said he wanted to get out the message that they are not to report for work until the new opening date.

The beef plant is expected to provide 600 full-time jobs, but the full 600 will not be on line as the plant starts operation.

Beck said the plant will "ramp up" to the 600 mark as operations get under way and the plant starts to process its full capacity of beef per day — 215 cattle per hour.

When asked if the delays are hurting the company, Beck said, "Delays are not in the books."

While he declined to say how much the delays have cost the company, he did say it is significant.

Owners of the beef plant, who only recently made their names public, have said the delays do have an effect but the plant shouldn't open until it is ready.

County officials have said the beef plant will play an important role in the local economy through the jobs it creates, and through the ripple effect it could have on agriculture and those businesses that support agriculture.

>> Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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