GFM Network News


Third major Alberta beef plant confirms COVID-19 cases

JBS in Brooks is the latest with infected workers, but will continue operations

UPDATED, April 17 — Cases of COVID-19 have now been confirmed at three of Alberta’s major beef packing plants. Three cases of COVID-19 were confirmed Wednesday at the JBS beef packing plant in Brooks, said Tom Hesse, Local 401 president with United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Canada. JBS Canada spokesman Cameron Bruett confirmed some […] Read more

File photo of the Harmony Beef plant at Balzac, Alta. in 2015.

Sick employee disrupts slaughter at Harmony Beef

Part of Calgary beef plant shut down after employee who had been off work tested positive for COVID-19

Harmony Beef, a beef processing plant north of Calgary, had to shut part of its operation down March 26 after an employee fell sick. “Alberta Health Services informed us Thursday that an employee who had not been at work for days had a positive test for COVID-19,” company spokesperson Crosbie Cotton said March 27. The […] Read more


U.S. livestock: Hog, cattle futures dive as volatile trade continues

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. lean hog futures tumbled on Friday, with several contracts falling the expanded daily limit of 4.5 U.S. cents/lb. on worries about a slowdown in demand for pork and fears that the coronavirus could shutter slaughterhouses, potentially backing up hog supplies, traders said. Chicago Mercantile Exchange June lean hog futures settled […] Read more

File photo of the Harmony Beef plant at Balzac, Alta. in 2015.

Alberta’s Harmony Beef halts slaughter on positive COVID-19 test

CFIA pulls inspectors after plant employee tests positive

Ottawa/Winnipeg | Reuters — Harmony Beef, an Alberta packing plant, halted cattle slaughter on Friday after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) kept some inspectors from work, due to a positive test for COVID-19 by a Harmony worker, the company said. The partial closure follows a positive COVID-19 test by a worker at U.S. chicken […] Read more


New Harmony Beef plant ramping up

Nearly a year after Harmony Beef slaughtered its first cow, the plant is now processing 360 head a day, says the company’s director of marketing. Canada is its primary market at present, and Costco is the packer’s largest customer, said Cam Daniels. It has also started selling to the U.S., made its first shipment to […] Read more

Harmony Beef announces opening date

Refurbished plant will feature state-of-the-art processing technology, not seen before in Canada

The opening date has been pushed back multiple times, but Harmony Beef is slated to open Feb. 22 and has cattle booked for the first couple of months. “When we start out, we’ll start very slowly,” said owner Rich Vesta. The American meat-packing industry veteran bought the shuttered Rancher’s Beef plant just north of Calgary […] Read more


Five reasons to celebrate 2015

There's no denying it was a troubled year, but don't forget the many good things that happened

As you look back on 2015, do you feel the January blues coming on? The oil price crash went from bad to awful, tighter margins were made worse by summer drought, and ‘disaster’ seems a charitable description for Bill 6. But there were lots of positive developments in the past year and now’s not a […] Read more

Rich Vesta, owner of Harmony Beef. The plant was supposed to open its doors in January 2015, but the project has run into numerous delays.

Harmony Beef slaughter plant opening pushed back

Rich Vesta says plans to open last summer were ‘totally unrealistic’ but the venture continues to move forward

It was supposed to open last summer, but the owner of Harmony Beef says it will be a while yet before his plant starts slaughtering cattle. “Quite honestly, when we started, we were overaggressive in our time frame,” said Rich Vesta, an American businessman and former top executive in the U.S. meat-packing industry. Vesta completed […] Read more