ABERDEEN, SD – After the media waited much of the day on Dec. 28 for news on the future of Northern Beef Packers, David Palmer, NBP president and CEO, announced construction on its new plant near Aberdeen had resumed. The facility is expected to be operational in 2011.

“The ownership and management team established in late 2009 has spent the past year updating and revising the development, financing, marketing and operational plans for this plant,” Palmer said. “These changes have allowed us to work through previous financial obligations and move forward with construction. Given these positive steps, we expect to start processing cattle in mid to late 2011.”

The NBP complex will cover more than 662,500 sq. ft. and include a processing facility, an enclosed stockyard, a rendering and utility building, a loading area and a parking lot. NBP plans to process 1,500 head of cattle per day, or 390,000 head per year. In the next three years, NBP is expected to employ more than 560 people.

“NBP owes the state of South Dakota much appreciation for its dedication to this project,” said Palmer. “The Governor’s Office of Economic Development helped us connect with investors, secure federal, state and private financing and continues to provide us with technical assistance and know-how.”

NBP’s progress is good news for South Dakota’s cattle producers, Gov. Mike Rounds said.

“South Dakota has the best beef producers and the best-tasting beef in the nation. After years of discussing how to add value to our home-grown premium meat, we have found a way to do it,” Rounds said. “With NBP in place, cattle producers will no longer need to travel across South Dakota’s borders to have cattle processed. That means less expense for producers and more jobs for South Dakota.”

NBP will be able to process South Dakota Certified Beef, according to Richard Benda, secretary of the South Dakota Department of Tourism and State Development. This could increase demand and bring premium prices for South Dakota beef. The South Dakota Certified Beef program allows meat products to be tracked for age and source verification.

“While the demand for traceability is growing in the US, age-and-source verified meat products are especially important to consumers in Asian countries,” Benda said. “A facility that can process South Dakota Certified Beef in large quantities could allow South Dakota beef producers to expand their market internationally.”