GALLUP, N.M. – Ramah Navajo Foods plans to open a meat processing and wholesale distribution center in McKinley County, according to The Associated Press. Ramah Navajo Foods is a joint venture between Blue Mountain Meats of Monticello, Utah, and the Navajo Nation’s Ramah Chapter in western New Mexico.

Having purchased 15 acres of private land, Ramah Navajo Foods will begin building a processing plant by next spring. It will be the first medium-sized USDA certified plant in the state. Initially to employ 12 people, the company expects to process 2,000 animals per year.

New Mexico officials claim this venture will be the first tribal, public and private economic development project in their state. The New Mexico Economic Development Department, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, McKinley County, the city of Gallup and others are also helping with the project.