Meat Industry INSIGHTS Newsletter

970610 USDA Promotes Beef Processing Co-op in Northern Plains States

USDA is offering loan guarantees to help ranchers in 7 Northern Plains states start a beef processing and marketing cooperative. The Northern Plains Premium Beef Cooperative in Mandan, ND, is seeking ranchers to invest a minimum $2500 in the venture and pledge to deliver cattle to the coop.

The USDA's Business and Industry Guarantee Loan program will help secure loans to buy the stock. Members are being sought in North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Wyoming, Iowa and Nebraska.

Members also are being sought in two neighboring Canadian provinces, although they would not qualify for USDA assistance.

"Several factors, including bad weather and industry concentration of the meat packing industry, have left these ranchers fighting for survival," USDA Secretary Dan Glickman said in announcing the guarantees.

"A rancher-owned cooperative that would process and market premium beef could provide these hard-pressed ranchers with an opportunity to keep more of the value-added profits generated from the sale of their cattle."

The coop needs to raise about $60 million, half of which would be from member investments. It plans to build a $36 million processing plant and market its own brand of premium beef.

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