Cargill is investing $5.5 million in new equipment technology to
increase the efficiency of the Humboldt Industrial Park meat processing plant
while also improving its product quality and ergonomics for workers.
The investment is being made because Cargill is experiencing a recent increase in demand by retailers throughout the region for meat products coming from the case-ready meat packaging facility, plant manager Aaron Humes said.
New equipment ranges from an automated product line dedicated to making specific products for its customers, to an integrated network to centralize monitoring of equipment performance and production.
A new automated system for weighing boxes and labeling products is being installed, as well as equipment to automatically construct shipping boxes and automated steak-trimming equipment.
"Our team of 640 dedicated people takes a great deal of pride in producing excellent meat products that meet our customers' expectations and provide consumers with wonderful protein-rich eating experiences," Humes said.
"We always strive for excellence and this new equipment will enable us to improve our performance, while also providing better ergonomics for workers by having a machine produce items that were previously made by hand. This investment will allow us to remain competitive and show what we can do to benefit our customers and their meat cases."
The new investment will not affect the plant's physical size or employment.
Kevin O'Donnell, president of CAN DO, the area's economic development organization, said Cargill is a "great company that has been a great corporate citizen" since building the 230,000 square-foot facility in 2002.
"I'm happy to see Cargill making an additional investment in the local plant," O'Donnell said. "It further secures their commitment to the Hazleton area."
The local facility produces beef, ground beef and pork products packaged and ready to go directly into retailer meat cases throughout the Northeastern United States, from Maine to Ohio to Virginia. Employees of the facility are represented by United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1776.
"In addition to producing protein that feeds millions of Americans daily, our Hazleton facility employees support the local community and provide volunteer time to many worthy organizations," Humes said. "We understand how important it is to be both a viable business and a good neighbor in the community, and we work hard to fill both needs."
Humes estimated Cargill employees volunteer for approximately 14 different community organizations in the Hazleton area.
O'Donnell also praised the firm and its employees for their involvement in the community.
"They are great contributors to the community," he said. "Whenever there is a worth cause, Cargill and its employees step up to meet the need. They are always there for the community."
Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the privately held company employs 142,000 people in 65 countries.
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