After lengthy delays that included lawsuits, local opposition, flooding, an economic downturn, delinquent property taxes and several liens, the Northern Beef Packers plant in Aberdeen, S.D., is finally set to open. The project, initially proposed in 2006, may begin processing cattle as early as this spring, reports the Associated Press.
Land for the $109 million Northern Beef Packers in Aberdeen was secured in 2006, but nemerous delays kept the project from moving forward. Once locally owned, the plant was given new life when Korean investors took over in 2009. Northern Beef Packers is now 41 percent owned by businessman Oshik Song with 69 other Korean investors who each gave at least $500,000 under the federal EB-5 program that encourages foreign investment in exchange for qualifications to secure permanent residency.
The 420,000-square foot facility on Aberdeen's south side will initially process about 200 cattle a day, eventually ramping up to 1,500 head per day from the Dakotas, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota. The plant currently has about 200 employees but the crew will jump to 650 at full operation.
Northern Beef Packers plans to use nearly all of each animal, producing both USDA certified meat cuts and the offal in high demand in foreign markets. An on-site rendering plant will open later.
Sources: AP, BusinessWeek