US agri-food business Cargill is investing US$4.2m to expand production of ground beef at its plant in Columbia, South Carolina.

Output will increase 15% once new “precision” grinding equipment is installed at the site in May, giving Cargill’s protein division the added capacity to meet demand in the east of the country, it said in a statement yesterday (31 January). 

Cargill purchased the factory in 2016 and employs more than 200 people at the facility.

John Keating, president of business operations and the supply chain within Cargill’s protein division, said: “This investment shows our commitment to the beef industry in the eastern US and allows us to deliver on the increasing needs of beef customers in the region, through the installation of higher-performance production technologies.”

Expansion of the Columbia plant builds on $850m of investments made by Cargill over the past two years in the US and Canada. 

Those capital expenditures included $111m spent on converting a cooked meats plant in Nebraska, $27m to expand an egg processing facility in Michigan, $50m on a distribution centre at its Kansas beef plant, and $146m to expand a cooked meats facility in Tennessee.