Meat co-operative Silver Fern Farms is to start processing cattle at its West Coast plant.
The company says work will start immediately to expand the capabilities of its venison plant at Hokitika, where it estimates it will eventually be able to process more than 4,000 cattle a year, as well as deer.
The company says large numbers of cattle are trucked out of the West Coast each year, many of them being sent to the North Island for processing.
It says this is not ideal because of the extra stress it puts on the animals when they are transported long distances, as well as greenhouse gas emissions associated with the transport.
Silver Fern Farms says reconfiguring the plant will cost $660,000. It is aiming to process the first cattle carcass in April 2010.
Federated Farmers West Coast Meat and Fibre representative Kees van Beek says the move will bring more competition to the area.
He says at the moment there is only one plant in the area that processes beef.