COBRAM, AUSTRALIA – JBS Australia announced that it would reopen its processing facility in Cobram, Australia, on Feb. 6 after a $20 million renovation. 

The plant, which will work with lamb, goat and mutton, expects to operate five days a week with a capacity of up to 4,000 head of livestock per day. JBS said that the facility would employ 150 workers with plans to increase to 350 once production scales up. 

“JBS Australia is proud to reopen its Cobram facility to support jobs and economic growth in the local community," said Sam McConnell, chief operating officer of JBS Southern. “Today’s changed market conditions and increasing demand for lamb products has allowed us to invest in this fit-for-purpose facility which will partner with local businesses and livestock producers to deliver Australian lamb, mutton and goat to domestic and international consumers.”

JBS said the plant was last used in 2017 and since that time has been in care and maintenance mode. The Cobram facility, which is part of the Great Southern and JBS Australia business, will also work toward sustainability targets that include CO2 reduction, water and energy conservation and workplace safety.

“JBS Australia is pleased to have the opportunity to work alongside the Cobram community again,” said Brent Eastwood, chief executive officer of JBS Australia. “This reinforces our commitment to continually invest in Australia, our facilities, our people and local businesses. Our customers, both here and overseas, are demanding high-quality Australian lamb and goat product. Reopening the Cobram facility has been a key priority for our business to meet this demand and explore growth opportunities overseas for the benefit of the local Cobram economy, livestock producers and our people.” 

During the last few months, JBS recruited local workers around Cobram to fill positions at the plant. With ongoing labor shortages, the company said some roles will be filled with the Federal Government's Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) Scheme. 

“As an endorsed government sponsored employer, JBS will support these Pacific Island workers through community engagement programs and accommodation support,” JBS said.