POINT REYES STATION, Calif. – Marin Sun Farms successfully acquired the slaughterhouse formerly owned by Petaluma, Calif.-based Rancho Feeding Corp. The US Department of Agriculture approved an opening date of April 7.

Rancho Feeding recalled roughly a year's worth of meat production. USDA claimed the meat was processed from diseased and "unsound" animals without federal inspection. No illnesses have been reported in connection with the products, but the Food Safety and Inspection Service launched an investigation into the company's processing practices. The facility later was closed.

Area ranchers were hit hard by the closure because Rancho Feeding was the only processor available in the Bay Area. Marin Sun Farms plans to offer local ranchers slaughter, cut and wrap and distribution services in the Bay Area.

“This slaughterhouse had been the only abattoir in the San Francisco Bay Area, making it a gateway for small niche producers to get to market,” said David Evans, president and CEO of Marin Sun Farms. “I want to get this facility back to full operations so that consumers can enjoy a growing number of options from local producers in the market place.”

In a statement on the company's website, Evans said escrow closed on the purchase on Feb. 28, and now the Marin Sun Farms plans to work with all ranchers to bring their own brands and labels to market.

"Marin Sun Farms is committed to expanding market access to all ranchers in our foodshed," Evans said in the statement. "We will be processing beef and pork and hope to add goat and lamb in the near future. We plan to be certified Organic by the end of the year. In linking this with our cut-and-wrap facility in San Francisco, ranchers who want it will have greater access to processing and retail markets. Marin Sun Farms will bring its commitment to quality, excellence, and customer care to this facility. I want this to be a resource our whole community can be proud of."