Rancher's Beef announced phase one of its operations which will involve the processing of over 30 month cattle.

In a joint venture with Sunterra Farms and a combination of facilities, up to 300 head per day will be slaughtered at Sunterra's newly expanded Innisfail plant. The carcasses will then be processed at a new processing facility within existing buildings on Rancher's plant site north of Calgary. Rancher's expects that it will be in the marketplace dealing with the surplus of over 30 month cattle during April 2005. Phase two of Rancher's operations is expected to begin in its new plant by year-end.

Alberta Agriculture Minister, Doug Horner congratulated Rancher's on the announcement. "Increased slaughter capacity is what the industry needs right now. It will do more to raise cattle prices and improve economic conditions than any form of government intervention. Adding to Alberta's slaughter capacity will go a long way to restoring our beef industry."

Rancher's Chairman Art Price said: "This fast track, phased approach to Rancher's operations will enable Rancher's to incrementally grow its participation in the beef market place and create a much needed expanded market for the over 30 cattle that have limited market opportunities today."