PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Gov. Dennis Daugaard said Monday he expects a financially troubled South Dakota beef packing plant will eventually be bought and operated by a new owner.
Northern Beef Packers in Aberdeen filed for bankruptcy protection last month and has asked a judge to allow it to hire an investment banking firm to pursue a sale.
On the Dakota News Network's call-in radio show, Daugaard said he believes another packing company will buy the Aberdeen plant because it's already been built and has secured the permits needed to operate.
"After it's sold to a new owner, it presumably will be up and running," Daugaard said.
Land for the $109 million plant was first secured in 2006, but the company wasn't able to slaughter its first animal until late 2012. After struggling to reach anywhere near its production target of 1,500 head a day, it laid off most of its employees last month and halted production.
The governor said the packing plant is needed to provide good jobs and give South Dakota farmers and ranchers a place where they can get their cattle processed.
"There's no reason we should be shipping these feeder cattle out of state to be fed and to be slaughtered out of state," Daugaard said.
Information from: KGFX-AM, http://www.dakotaradiogroup.com