Northern Beef Packers laid off 108 workers last week because of a lack of working capital to buy and process cattle, plant  officials said. The plant needs to raise about $ 20 million, said David Palmer, CEO, at a news conference at the Ramkota Thursday afternoon. The measure is expected to be short-term, reports the Aberdeen American News.

"This is an unfortunate setback, but we are confident that this is only temporary," Palmer said, adding that employees could be called back by July. "The employees at Northern Beef Packers have been our biggest asset thus far, and we expect to begin rehiring and expanding our operation as soon as the additional financing is in place."

Before the layoffs, Northern Beef Packers had about 420 employees. Those who were let go were mostly production employees on the slaughter and packaging areas of the plant, said A.J. Munger, director of business development, pricing and marketing. He said that the lack of financing has prevented the company from buying cattle and not availability.

"The company is working with a number of prospective investors," according to a Northern Beef news release. "The negotiations are confidential at this time. The investors are additional foreign investors like those that have already funded a significant portion of the construction costs for its current plant, international trading companies, established food companies and financial investors."

Source: Aberdeen American News