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High River meat plant employing 2,000 people to remain closed for another week

A group of houses are surrounded in flood water in High River, Alberta, south of Calgary June 23, 2013.


One of Canada's largest beef slaughterhouses located just outside flood-ravaged High River will remain closed until next week, but Cargill Ltd. has stepped up production at its Guelph, Ont. and U.S. plants to help make up the volume.

The Cargill plant, which normally sees 2,000 employees process 4,500 head of cattle per day, was not flooded but is cut off from the fresh water it needs to operate.

"The sooner we have access to water, the sooner we can get our employees back at work and earning pay cheques again," said Cargill spokeswoman Brigitte Burgoyne from the quiet plant just north of High River, the community hardest hit by Alberta's devastating flood this month.

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"We haven't been receiving any cattle because we can't process anything."

Ms. Bourgoyne said although other plants have stepped up their production, the closure has had a ripple effect on the entire Canadian beef industry, from cattlemen to retailers. "It's having any impact all the way down the supply chain."

She added the company's priority remains helping the town of High River recover from the floods.

Cargill is looking at a number of options to get access to water. The Alberta government has said it has provided the pump and irrigation piping to bring new water systems on-line, and will work with the company to expedite necessary approvals.

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Alberta reporter



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