ABERDEEN, SD – After yearslong delays, a holding area is being finished by contractors and workers will soon be hired for the new Northern Beef Packers packing plant being built near Aberdeen, according to the Associated Press. The plant will start accepting applications for line jobs midsummer and should open by late summer or early fall, spokesman Steve Kaiser told KSDN radio.

South Dakota Certified Beef, age- and source-verified, meat will be produced by the plant. Officials say the meat will bring a premium price and the plant will keep ranchers from having to ship cattle out of the state to be processed. Eventually, the $70 million plant is expected to employ 560 people and process 7,500 head of cattle a week. The 662,500-sq.-ft. complex will include a rendering and utility building, a loading bay and a parking lot.

The plant has signed agreements with most of its 14 or 15 lien holders and is making payments, Kaiser said. Construction at the plant began again after years of delays since the project first started in 2005. Last December, outgoing Gov. Mike Rounds announced the plant would get state financing, in the forms of a mixture of loans and a $1 million grant.