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Our Opinion: The beef has arrived

December 20, 2001

Brawley Beef LLC has started operations in Brawley after a few delays. We are pleased to see that the beef-processing plant, expected to provide as many as 600 much-needed jobs, is operating. We are sure the work is not easy, but the jobs are full-time and give workers a sense of permanent employment so they are not subject to seasonal labor.

That is important when people are trying to build a life, buy a home, start a family and follow whatever dreams they may have for themselves and their loved ones. Brawley Beef employed more than 150 people as of Tuesday, is expected to have 350 employees by next week and in coming weeks the total hired should reach 600. And, if the plant proves successful, as many as 1,200 people could be employed there in coming years.

We applaud those in the beef industry both here and in Yuma who had the courage to invest millions of dollars in the facility. It is a big step, one that could lead to a better future for the local cattle industry. People with the means need to take such steps if they are going to bring about development for themselves and for the Valley as a whole.

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The beef plant is going to help the entire Valley. For one, more people employed means more money moving through the local economy. Second, there will be a ripple effect caused by the beef plant that will benefit other parts of agriculture and ancillary businesses that serve agriculture.

We are fortunate the decision was made to build the beef plant here and local and state officials deserve credit for making that happen. The facility could have been built in Arizona. The odds were in favor of the plant being built there. However, local and state officials — all of whom saw the importance of the plant — came through with critical incentives that convinced Brawley Beef to build in Brawley.

It is possible other industries will take notice the plant was built here and look toward the Valley as an area in which to start operations. Building the plant here has sent a clear message to those outside the Valley that we want growth, can support growth and have the resources and manpower to make growth possible.

Still, the beef plant is far from proving itself a success. There is a lot at stake on this project. Were it to fail it could be devastating.

We do not think that will happen. The ingredients are there for Brawley Beef to succeed.

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