Kansas City, Mo - U.S. Premium Beef announced Wednesday it had completed the purchase of a 50 percent stake in Farmland National Beef Packing Co, a unit of Farmland Industries, and said the new venture had already begun processing cattle.
"During our first week of operation, we scheduled approximately 11,000 head of cattle to be processed at National Beef's plants," Steve Hunt, U.S. Premium Beef chief executive officer, told reporters at a news conference. "The interest from beef producers has been tremendous."
National Beef, which processes and markets fresh boxed beef and beef by-products, is now the first large-scale beef processing operation fully owned by beef producers, the company said.
Farmland executive vice president Gary Evans said the joint ownership boosted the cooperative's goal of establishing an integrated "farm to table" production system across products.
"This partnership...creates a more seamless, vertically integrated production and marketing system that economically encourages stockholders to produce higher quality beef and beef by- products," Evans said.
National Beef processed nearly eight percent of all U.S. cattle last year, the company said.
Farmland Industries is the largest farmer-owned cooperative in the United States, with interests in grain exporting, meat processing, fuel and fertilizer production and other agricultural businesses.
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