Arkansas City Creekstone Farms' new slaughterhouse is running at full production capacity, nine months after the plant's former owner shut down operations.
Creekstone managers told U.S. Rep. Todd Tiahrt and other city officials touring the plant this week that the facility was now slaughtering 1,000 head of cattle per day and shipping a half million pounds of meat a day.
Kevin Pentz, the company's vice president and general manager, took the officials through much of the 500,000 square-foot plant Tuesday.
Creekstone, which employs 570 workers at the Arkansas City plant, purchased the operation at a bankruptcy auction in January. The former plant owner, Future Beef, closed down last August -- just one year after it opened -- leaving about 900 people without jobs.
"We're glad you're up and running ahead of schedule," Tiahrt said. "It was a big blow to the economy when Future Beef came in with a bang and went out with a whimper."
More than 80 percent of employees hired by Creekstone were former Future Beef workers, Pentz told tour participants.
Pentz told officials that Creekstone's business strategy was to provide premium black Angus beef graded higher than the industry standard.
Creekstone's Arkansas City plant will help the company "cut out the middle man" in meat processing operations, Pentz said. During the past several years, the company has relied on other producers' packing houses for processing. Now it has a plant of its own.
Creekstone's purebred cattle originate from a facility in Kentucky, but the company is working toward getting cattle closer to the Arkansas City plant.