U.S. Premium Beef, Ltd., a U.S. producer-owned beef company, announced today the company’s study of a potential processing expansion into its northern trade area has been completed and that the company has decided to delay a northern processing plant expansion at this time.

“While our analysis proved encouraging, any available option to expand today would come at too great of risk to our company and its earnings as well as our current and future stockholders,” Steve Hunt, USPB CEO said in making the announcement. “Although our decision today is to defer, U.S. Premium Beef will commit to maintaining the integrity of the northern expansion membership drive priority list for any future processing expansion.

“Our decision to defer expansion at this time is not final,” Hunt added. “USPB will continue to explore northern processing opportunities. Our Northern Expansion Steering Committee will remain intact and will continue to assist in evaluating potential options in this regard. The company’s current success is a direct reflection of the time and effort we made to fully analyze each decision and the economic impact that would have on our investors.

“With that thought, investing in U.S. Premium Beef has been a good financial decision for our members and stockholders,” Hunt noted. “Since our company began operations on Dec. 1, 1997, combined grid premiums and company earnings have exceeded $56 million. In addition, share value appreciation of $39 per share, a 70 percent increase, represents a gain of more than $26 million. Just as important as our financial success, is the guaranteed access our members have to market their cattle on USPB’s grid—regardless of the packing industry’s need for cattle in any given week.”

USPB has producer ownership from every segment of the beef industry. More than 1,450 producers from 33 states have marketed their cattle through U.S. Premium Beef since the company began operations Dec. 1, 1997. U.S. Premium Beef producers’ sell products under several brand names including Farmland Black Angus Beef™, Farmland Certified Premium Beef™, Black Canyon Cattle Company™ Angus Beef, Farmland Family Entrees™, Farmland Ground & Browned™ and Certified Angus Beef™. In addition, USPB members are also marketing beef direct to consumers through Kansas City Steak Company, a high quality, portion control and mail order company owned by Farmland National Beef Packing Company.

U.S. Premium Beef Ltd. release