RICHFIELD — A brand-new beef production facility is set to open in Richfield, bringing jobs and educational opportunities — all with a focus on sustainability.

The Utah Beef Producers’ plant is located in Richfield, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Henry Barlow, St. George News

“What we’ve built here, I don’t think there’s anything else like it in Utah,” Utah Beef Producers owner Henry Barlow said. 

Barlow, a general contractor with 35 years of experience working in Utah, has owned several businesses, including Hybar Windows and Doors and Rocky Mountain Concrete, a construction and excavation business. 

Also a rancher, he said he’s watched fellow ranchers wait anywhere from six to nine months to obtain kill dates for cattle in Utah. The delay makes it nearly impossible for a rancher with a dozen cows to harvest the meat for their clients or even their own families.

“Over 500,000 cattle leave the state every year to be fed out or slaughtered outside the state of Utah,” he said. “But if you roll the clock back 60 years, we finished cattle in Utah and we need to do that again.”

The inside of the Utah Beef Producers’ plant is pictured, Richfield, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Henry Barlow, St. George News

The Utah Beef Producers’ facility will soon be able to receive stock trailers or even semitractor-loads of cattle at a time. The state-of-the-art meat processing and packaging will have the USDA stamp, allowing ranchers to legally sell that meat across state lines.

“All the ranchers I know think about it and talk about it for the last 25 years saying somebody ought to do something,” Barlow said. “So I sold one of my ranches and decided to be that guy.”

The facility also has strong connections with food distribution services, which provide quality meat to restaurants, hotels, casinos and more. The ability to offer Utah beef to these outlets is something Barlow is most excited about.

“The brand new facility will not be offensive to the local community and fill the need for the Utah and the surrounding West ranchers to use this new facility,” he said.

In addition to the plant itself, Barlow said they will also have their own brand, Horizon Heritage Farms, which will offer premium, locally sourced beef with complete traceability from farm to fork. Their brand also offers shipping, providing meat delivered right to the consumer’s door. 

“In a way, they have the ability to shake the hand of the rancher that feeds them,” he said. “They’ll know where this beef came from, and I think a lot of people in Southern Utah will benefit from buying local beef.”

Sustainability is at the core of the facility through the implementation of innovative waste management practices, including converting processing waste into biochar, a soil enhancer with the potential to reduce environmental footprint. 

The inside of the Utah Beef Producers’ plant is pictured, Richfield, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Henry Barlow, St. George News

Barlow said that will make them the first plant in the United States to make biochar onsite, which he said reduces methane gas in animals by up to 45% when used as a feed supplement additive. Additionally, an onsite wastewater treatment facility will help them recycle water and save an estimated 8 million gallons of water per year.

“We have a tremendous opportunity to be a powerful example for good,” Barlow said. “And one of the ways is sustainability. And more than that, it’s very forward-thinking.”

They’re also focusing on education.

Working with Snow College, they plan to offer a unique associate’s degree program that will allow students to earn a degree while working at the plant. They are also working with the USU Extension, which provides research-based programs and resources to improve the lives of individuals, families and communities.

Meetings have also taken place at high schools to connect a pathway from grade school to college and the plant.

“Most of the time, when people think of a plant like this, their mind only goes to killing a cow,” Barlow said. “There are so many more jobs in terms of what’s possible here with the shipping lanes, the trucking, the social media, the advertising, the food safety, meat cutting and so much more.”

Barlow said once the facility hits capacity, it will provide over 100 jobs.

As far as the location, he said Richfield is perfect for several reasons, including shipping lanes that hit the West coast from Texas north with only two-day ground shipping. 

The inside of the Utah Beef Producers’ plant is pictured, Richfield, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Henry Barlow, St. George News

“We’ll be able to satisfy so many Utah ranchers that have had to either sell their cows or send them off as calves and not do a finished operation because they did not have an option like this,” he said.

Utah Beef Producers’ grand opening will take place on Saturday, March 30. The event is open to the public and many officials from the state, county and city of Richfield will be in attendance. Facility tours will be available and food will be served. See the event page for more information.

Utah Beef Producers is located at 2200 S. Red Hills Drive in Richfield. Learn more by visiting their website or following them on Instagram and Facebook. Connect with Barlow directly on Instagram.

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