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ND Natural Beef closes after losing customer

Fargo, N.D. -- North Dakota Natural Beef LLC, a beef and bison processing plant in Fargo, N.D., will end operations and lay off its workforce effective immediately, the company announced Aug. 28.

Fargo, N.D. -- North Dakota Natural Beef LLC, a beef and bison processing plant in Fargo, N.D., will end operations and lay off its workforce effective immediately, the company announced Aug. 28.

Dieter Pape, president and CEO, says the company's largest customer has completed a beef kill and processing plant expansion at Buffalo Lake, Minn., and will move the remainder of the processing to that facility.

NDNB is entwined with the North American Bison Cooperative, which has a bison and beef kill plant at New Rockford, N.D. NABC is the majority shareholder of the NDNB, and is "not impacted by this situation," says Pape, who is CEO of both companies.

The NDNB plant initially had processed both natural beef (beef produced without antibiotics or hormones), and bison, both of which had been killed at the New Rockford plant. The beef company, however, earlier lost some of its natural beef customers, failed to pay some of its natural beef suppliers and stopped purchasing beef. It had recently been a contract processor for a Chicago-based beef company. Some of the Chicago company's owners are part-owners of the Buffalo Lake plant.

Pape made clear that the bison company is healthy, despite the beef company problems.

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"In fact, NABC, due to some additional supply of bison that have become available, is once again growing its business. NABC will be hiring approximately 10 people required by the growth of its business," Pape says.

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