BRAWLEY â€” Eric Brandt, CEO of One World Beef, spoke before the Imperial County Board of Supervisors Tuesday, giving an update on the refurbishing and restart of the beef processing plant his company purchased from National Beef.
National Beef closed their doors in May 2014, displacing about 1,300 workers.
â€œWe are making remarkable process at the beef plant,â€ Brandt said. â€œThe production room is beginning to get refurbished, we have hired part of our team, about 42 employees, contracted with numerous local vendors, and spent over $2.5 million in the last 60 days.â€
Brandt cited the work accomplished as a great example of several beneficial economic factors for the Valley by reopening the plant. Brandt also gave credit for the economic windfall to the loan the county gave to their operation.
â€œWe are very grateful,â€ Brandt added.
The hard work of the employees and the expertise and diligent work of the contractors were the reasons Brandt gave for the operation being ahead of schedule and below budget.
â€œExcept for some outstanding permitting issues, specifically connected to the discharge of organic effluent, we would be ready to start operations in the next 30 days,â€ Brandt said. â€œWe continue to have big plans for our overall vision. As many of you know, we are reopening this plant as a total processing plant, whereby cattle feeders with specialty brands can come to the plant and process their cattle. In this regard, you can think of OWB as a custom winery where any grape growers can bring their grapes and we will make wine for them. We are very hopeful to be working with as many local cattle feeders as possible.â€
Brandt spoke of his excitement to finally have the plant up and running, plus many of the innovative changes the team has made to the facility.
â€œAnother exciting development, keeping with our operating vision, is the use of a new biological waste water treatment system,â€ Brandt said. â€œThis system, currently under review by the Regional California Quality Water Board, will have tremendous positive impact for the local environment. The system will beneficially reuse hundreds of millions of gallons water over the next decade, and we we will reuse our highly-valued organic refuse for forage crops.â€
The company plans on reducing the electricity used to power the water discharge by 90 percent, therefore dynamically lowering their carbon footprint. Brandt said they are working closely with the IID to install a host of energy efficient upgrades, which will save millions of dollars in expenses, and again lower their carbon footprint.
Another cost saving plan includes changing out 2,500 hundred lights for energy efficient LEDs and changing variable speed drive motors to make refrigeration more efficient, saving thousands of kilowatts of energy.
Brandt ended by again thanking the county for the loan and personally inviting any of the supervisors to the plant for a personal tour.