Coromandel MP Scott Simpson (left), Prime Minister John Key, Silver Ferns Farms chairman Eoin Garden, chief executive Keith Cooper and chief operating officer Kevin Winders at the opening of the new beef-processing operation at Te Aroha. Photo by Silver Fern Farms.
A $67 million investment to commission a state-of-the-art
beef-processing operation at Te Aroha is testament to Silver
Fern Farms' strong confidence in the sector, chairman Eoin
The company's Te Aroha plant was devastated by a fire in
December 2010, which destroyed the slaughter area, boning
room and chillers.
Last week, Prime Minister John Key officially opened the new
flagship plant on the same site, watched by those associated
with the rebuilding, including contractors, local government
representatives, local iwi and members of the Te Aroha
Silver Fern Farms chief executive Keith Cooper spoke of the
importance of the plant, not only to farmer-suppliers in the
surrounding rural area but also to the local community.
The fact the plant would be fully operational ahead of the
new season was ''welcome news'' for the town, with the
prospect it would employ up to 380 staff when operating at
Throughout the rebuilding process, the company tried to
provide alternative options for staff whose livelihoods were
affected by the fire, making positions available at
neighbouring plants and providing accommodation supplements
in the early stages. The significant capital spending had
also provided positive spin-offs to the local economy.
The plant incorporated the latest meat-processing technology,
including sophisticated traceability and yield collection
The new design reflected the company's focus on plant
economics and best-practice processing, and that
eco-efficiency and sustainability were ''top of mind''
considerations, Mr Cooper said.
''The rebuild gave us the opportunity to review the
environmental footprint of our operation. Our focus is
improving environmental efficiency while reducing costs
through better use of resources and reduction of waste.
''As a result, the plant sets a new industry benchmark in
line with global customer requirements - it uses
significantly less electricity and water per head and
discharges less effluent per head processed,'' he said.
The company was grateful to those suppliers who stood by it
and persevered while it got the new plant up and running.
The plant served suppliers in the Te Aroha, Morrinsville,
Matamata, Waitoa and greater Waikato area.