Governor hopes White Oak opens beef plant

Farm Forum

On Monday, Governor Dennis Daugaard spoke at a joint gathering of the Rotary and Sertoma clubs at the Ramkota Hotel in Aberdeen

At the end of the talk, he answered three questions, one of which concerned the beef plant.

Duagaard hopes for Aberdeen’s failed beef plant is that White Oak Global Advisors will get the plant up and running and sell it as an operating entity.

That is also the most likely outcome, Daugaard said Monday in Aberdeen.

The purchase of the beef plant by a slaughtering company would give White Oak a slight profit, Daugaard said. The company coming in would also acquire the facility at a bargain price, he said. If White Oak were to break up the plant and sell the equipment, it would not get as much value, Daugaard said.

White Oak, based in California, bought the plant at a bankruptcy auction in Sioux Falls in December.

Daugaard said he was glad Dennis Hellwig and others recognized the need for a beef plant. To have no beef slaughtering plant in a state with 4 million cattle makes no sense, he said. He also said the state was right to offer the grant and loan support to the plant that it did.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough capital on hand to get the plant operating at a level the owners wanted.

The recent withdrawal of two loan commitments to Northern Beef Packers was largely a formality, he said, because the required conditions had not been met.

In applying for any further state support, the beef plant would be just like any other economic development effort in the state, he said. People involved in the project are welcome and eligible to apply for loans or grant money, he said.

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