Meat processor Alliance Group is investing $1.2 million in its Smithfield plant in Timaru.
The co-operative is owned by approximately 4000 farmer shareholders and exports lamb, beef, venison and co-products to more than 65 countries.
Alliance Group chief executive David Surveyor said the upgrade of the Smithfield plant would include installing additional vacuum packaging, co-products processing technology and extending the secondary processing area at the South Canterbury plant.
Mr Surveyor said the changes would boost processing efficiency by up to 20 percent and help meet the needs of farmers in the South Island.
"We remain focused on lifting the performance and productivity of all our plants.
"This investment is great news for Timaru and the South Canterbury region with the plant employing 500 people at peak season," Mr Surveyor said.
In June, the co-operative announced improvements to its Dannevirke plant, which would also increase processing capacity there and mean jobs for 35 additional staff.
The project in the southern Hawke's Bay is due to get underway next month, Mr Surveyor said.
These developments were is another step forward in the company's transformation strategy and showed the benefit of a strong balance sheet, he said.