The beef processing plant which delayed operations until 2012 will need to sell to new investors quickly in order to maintain the state-of-the-art facility’s value.

The Northern Beef facility announced Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July after facing a series of challenges which delayed the plant’s opening since the land for the facility was acquired in 2006.

The Associated Press reports the plant borrowed $35 million last September, and has $138.8 million in liabilities and only $79.3 million in assets.

A hearing was held Thursday morning to determine the next step for the facility. The bankruptcy court reviewed Northern Beef’s plans to obtain credit to sell the facility or restructure.

The company asked for permission from the court to hire Lincoln International, an investment banking firm who recommended the company attracts an initial potential buyer to set the floor, starting a series of competitive bids.

Despite the setbacks the processing facility has experienced, Dennis Hellwig, an area livestock businessman who was once the plant’s largest investor, still sees the value in a local processing plant.

"It's the right deal, it just has to get financed with enough money," Hellwig told the Associated Press. "Somebody will come along with the right program, but they need to change some stuff down there."

Hellwig sold his interest in 2009, but says cattle producers in North and South Dakota, as well as Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota still need a closer processing facility than what’s currently around.