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Published December 03, 2013, 08:21 AM

Group plans meat processing plant in northeast ND

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Construction could begin as early as next fall on a $1.3 million livestock processing plant in northeast North Dakota.

By: Kevin Bonham, Forum News Service

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Construction could begin as early as next fall on a $1.3 million livestock processing plant in northeast North Dakota.

The North Dakota Agriculture Department’s Agricultural Products Utilization Commission last week awarded a $42,000 grant to the Red River Regional Council, based in Grafton, N.D., to develop a comprehensive business plan for the proposed multispecies facility.

The Pembina/Walsh County meat slaughter and processing plant committee will meet today in Crystal, N.D., to finalize a request for proposals.

Organizers plan to hire a consultant in January and to complete the business plan by late summer, according to Julius Wangler, a Walsh County cattle producer who recently retired as regional council executive director.

“If all would go well, construction could start this fall,” he said. “Now, we finally have some funding, so we can move forward.”

The target date for opening is 2015.

Besides the $42,000 from the state agency, the Walsh County Job Development Authority provided $12,500 to the business plan stage. Producers also contributed $3,000.

The nine primary producers, all members of the committee, live in Pembina and Walsh counties. The group also has an advisory committee.

If built, the plant likely would process at least 20 head of livestock weekly. That amounts to about 1,000 head annually. While cattle are expected to be the main source, the plant also would process hogs, as well as deer during the fall hunting season, he said.

The proposed production level is based on a preliminary survey of livestock producers in four counties, according to Wangler, who said the number could increase.

Preliminary plans call for retail sales to be made at the plant, Wangler said. The group also hopes to market the meat through grocery stores in the region.

Call Bonham at (701) 780-1110, (800) 477-6572, ext. 1110 or send email to kbonham@gfherald.com.

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