Debt piling up as South Dakota beef plant continues to build
Northern Beef Packers juggles finances as contrators complete work and bills stack up for the $110 million beef processing plant in northeastern South Dakota.
Associated Press reports contractors have filed liens for more than $1.3 million against the plant since Jan. 1 and about $1.2 million has not yet been paid. Sources show the plant additionally owes more than $10 million from previous years.
David Palmer, Northern Beef Packer CEO and president, estimated unpaid leins from before 2012 to total about $6.7 million.
The plant continues to collect bills and focuses on paying contractors currently working at the site. Palmer tells the American News in Aberdeen the company’s limited funds will pay contractors working now to open the plant more quickly. Northern Beef Packers is working to secure funds from other sources as it has not sold all of its Tax Incremental Finance (TIF) bonds.
The company has offered to pay contractors with TIF bonds, an offer that has been rejected.
Land for the project was acquired in 2006, but financial issues and local discontent have continuously postponed the expected opening date. The plant is scheduled to open for business this year.
Once fully operational, the 420,000-square foot facility will process up to 1,500 head of cattle per day and employ about 650. The facility will process cattle from the Dakotas, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota.