Cattle losses won’t deplete opportunities for Northern Beef

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As the beef processing facility in South Dakota preps for auction, officials say the tens of thousands of cattle lost to the early October blizzard won’t affect production opportunities for new owners.

Although the livestock lost following the blizzard earlier this month will impact the area’s economy and individual ranchers, Cory Eich, South Dakota Cattlemen's Association president, says the cattle supply in South Dakota and neighboring states in the region will keep the processing facility busy.

 "Cattle availability won't be the straw that breaks the camel's back as far as getting a packing plant going," Eich told the Aberdeen News. Consecutive years of severe drought in the southern half of the country has pushed cattle supplies further north.

A public auction is scheduled for Dec. 5, attorneys are hoping to set a minimum bid of $12.75 million for the facility. Assumed need for the facility in the region would make the minimum bid a deal for potential investors. Mary Worlie, Brown County director of equalization, valued the plant and land for tax purposes at nearly $54 million.

Prospective investors have called area producers to get a sense of business opportunities. Several producers in the region would save money using the Northern Beef facility, cutting transportation to their closest processing facility by hundreds of miles.

According to Prairie Business, a court motion determines the minimum bid is a reasonable amount to encourage a competitive auction for the plant’s assets.

The owners of Northern Beef filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July and secured a loan to avoid Chapter 7 liquidation. The project needs to take on new investors quickly to maintain the state-of-the-art facility’s value.



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