After many years of general discussion and 2 years of focused planning, construction is about to begin on a $2-million dollar rancher-owned packing plant south of Hot Springs.
Groundbreaking ceremonies are this afternoon at 4:00 at the site of the Dakota Territory Beef plant just off Hwy 385 near the Fall River Feedyard.
Area rancher Dustin Luper is a board member of the plant’s owner, the new United Ranchers Cooperative. He’s excited to see the project reach this point.
Co-op President Neil Sanders will serve as host of the groundbreaking and Luper, the Chadron State College Rodeo coach, says many local, county, and state elected officials are expected to take part including possibly Congressman Dusty Johnson.
Initial planning was for a plant that would kill 50 animals a week with 17 to 22 employees, but Luper says the decision was made to downsize and started with an operation of 25 animals per week with only 6 or 7 workers.
The plant will be on 11-acres across the highway from Angostura Den with a 19,000-square foot metal building from locally-owned High Country Erectors. Luper says site preparation has already begun.
The co-op was organized with 50 shares valued at $25,000 per share with a limit of 5 shares per person. Luper says enough shares have been sold to move forward, but with a majority still available.
The land for the plant was acquired in exchange for shares in the co-op.
The co-op members will be able to send any cattle breed to the plant with all meat USDA-inspected and marketed under the Dakota Territory Beef label if graded choice or better.
Upscale restaurants are the primary target market, but there will be retail store at the plant selling to local customers.