Richards’ personal abattoir project coming together

FORT FRANCES—Stratton sales barn manager Russ Richards has begun his own abattoir project separate from that of the Rainy River Regional Abattoir Committee.
And his plan—to bring the former Stratton Meats building up to the standards of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs—is beginning to take shape.
“The financing has been approved for it so we’re going to be moving forward into this project within the next two weeks,” Richards enthused Friday afternoon after coming from a financing meeting.
He would not, however, reveal the source of the financing.
“It is all approved and we’ll be moving ahead,” he stressed. “This covers the composting and everything to properly run it.”
Richards said he has all the information of the work that needs to be done on the building because OMAFRA officials had looked at it previously.
“There’s quite a bit of work that needs to be done, but it’s a very feasible deal to get this up into circulation,” he noted, adding he brought this information to the RRRA board as a suggestion.
“They chose they wanted a big fancy one, so that’s why they didn’t go this way,” he remarked.
Richards plans to operate the facility, whose cooler will hold 28 head a day, with his wife and they hope to have it running by the end of May.
“I hope to service the whole Rainy River District when we’re up and going,” he stressed. “In fact, I hope to service all Northwestern Ontario when it’s in full swing, working with Paul Peters and all the other people in the district that work meat, too.”
He said he hopes it helps everyone in the district.
“We’d like the consumers to say, ‘Hey, we like the idea of what’s happening’ and we hope the farmers will see more return for their livestock,” Richards remarked, adding the facility will be provincially-inspected.
And while Richards has an idea of how much he’ll charge per head, he said he won’t announce that until closer to the completion of the project.
“I’m at the age where I really don’t need it, but the community needs it,” he chuckled.
And Richards indicated he’s not concerned about plans for an abattoir by the RRRA board.
“I’m not concerned about what happens after we get one going because this is to service the Rainy River farmers and I’m really not concerned with what they do,” he remarked.
“My $500 is in there and it’s gone forever, but I’m not going to sling any mud,” he pledged. “I think that’s the only way to be fair all the way is to not sling any mud.”
He also said he intends to keep everyone up-to-date on the process of his project.
“As we move into it and we’re into the construction, we’ll add a bit more,” Richards said. “It’s good to let people know what’s going on and not have anyone in the dark.
“That way it’s a very good way to move forward.”