ABERDEEN, SD – A federal judge approved a $500,000 loan to Northern Beef Packers to pay its bills, according to local news reports.

The money will help pay managers remaining at the plant, utilities and other expenses that have gone unpaid since late July. The company had asked for $2 million.

The Aberdeen, SD-based plant filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July. The company is seeking a "stalking horse" bid, in which one potential buyer makes an initial offer to set the floor for an auction that invites competitive bids. The plant is facing $138.8 million in liabilities and has just $79.3 million in assets, according to court documents. The company laid off most of its employees in July.