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$4M renovations to Hawaii island slaughterhouse begin

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 4:47 a.m. HST, Oct 15, 2012

HILO » Hawaii's local and grass-fed beef industry will get a boost this week when Hawaii County breaks ground on renovations to a state-owned slaughterhouse on the Hamakua Coast.

The $4 million in state-funded improvements will boost slaughterhouse capacity by 40 percent. This will reduce a processing backlog that makes it difficult for ranchers to bring their animals to market at the right time.

The groundbreaking is scheduled for Tuesday.

The Paauilo Slaughterhouse is owned by the state and leased to Hawaii Beef Producers.

It's is one of two U.S. Department of Agriculture certified slaughterhouses on Hawaii Island, where over three-quarters of the state's cattle are raised.

Hawaii Cattlemen's Association President Tim Richards says the current lack of capacity impedes the industry's growth. He says the improvements are an important step forward.

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