TK Ranch Prepares for Opening of New Facilities
By raising grass-finished beef and lamb, heritage pasture raised pork and free-range chicken, TK Ranch owners, Dylan and Colleen Biggs are committed to providing niche meat products to their customers. Since launching in 1956, this family-run business also maintains strong relationships in their community, including other Alberta farms that supply meat for the TK Ranch branded products. In that time, the Biggs have also recognized and experienced many internal and external changes.
“As regulations changed, abattoirs in rural Alberta started to shut down,” said Colleen. “As a result, we had to travel 2,000 kilometers a week for our slaughter and processing needs.”
One of the reasons for TK Ranch’s high weekly transportation mileage is the company’s steady growth, as business has quadrupled since 2011. That not only led to more trips to their current slaughter facility, located almost two hours away, but it also caused the slaughter facility to reach maximum capacity. Those factors, combined with rising consumer interest in animal care inspired TK Ranch to build their own abattoir on their ranch land.
“Consumers are looking to our industry to find ways to reduce animal transport. This initiative will help us accomplish that, while helping to reduce costs and increase efficiency,” said Colleen.
TK Ranch also decided to capitalize on this opportunity by building a new processing facility on Inverlake Road, near Calgary. This facility’s capacity will help maintain and expand on current company growth, while offering custom processing services to other business in rural Alberta.
“We realize that it’s a different approach to separate slaughter and processing, but for us, there are many advantages,” said Colleen. “Once processed, our products are closer to target markets. By building in a location closer to urban centres, we will also have access to local labour resources, which is a common obstacle for facilities in rural Alberta.”
The Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency (ALMA) partnered with TK Ranch on this initiative. To Cody Cunningham, ALMA’s Senior Manager, Industry Investments, the new facilities provide an important service to rural businesses.
“TK Ranch found a unique way to grow their company and help others to do the same. Their new abattoir and processing facility will help industry in surrounding areas to capitalize on new opportunities,” said Cunningham.
Future opportunities are part of the vision for TK Ranch, as this initiative will help advance the Biggs’ business. The abattoir and processing facility are set to open over the next month, and with new state-of-the-art equipment, the Biggs recognize the potential for TK Ranch to enter the high-end value-added meat market.
“That is a budding market in Alberta,” said Colleen. “With our current structure, expanding our product lines wasn’t a possibility, but with enhanced capacity and reduced transportation costs, these facilities take us one step closer to realizing a new market for our products.”
To learn more about TK Ranch, please visit: http://tkranch.com/