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Published January 10, 2013, 02:39 PM

SD beef plant clears final financial hurdle

A beef processing plant in northern South Dakota that has been operating on a limited basis since last fall has raised enough money to enter into full production.

ABERDEEN, S.D. — A beef processing plant in northern South Dakota that has been operating on a limited basis since last fall has raised enough money to enter into full production.

Land for the $109 million Northern Beef Packers plant in Aberdeen was secured in 2006, but numerous problems including financial issues, lawsuits and flooding repeatedly pushed back the opening date.

Northern Beef, which is largely financed by Korean investors, has now raised more than $150 million, an amount that includes working capital.

“This is important because this is the amount we need to run the plant and move forward,” spokeswoman Laure Swanson said. “It includes working capital. In the past, we have had some financial delays. Now with this last phase, it will take us to where we really need for our operation.”

The plant eventually will process 1,500 cattle a day from the Dakotas, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota, producing more than 1 million pounds of boxed beef and beef byproducts daily. The company is not saying how many cattle it currently is processing.

“We have had plenty of cattle, and so far it has been good,” Swanson said. “As production increases, the plant will need more cattle. We encourage cattle producers to contact our cattle buyer.”

Northern Beef has hired more than 350 workers and eventually will employ 500. It also is continuing to add customers.

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