Beef plant still eyes opening this year

Farm Forum

Executives with the New Angus beef processing plant said they are working toward opening, but have yet to set a firm date.

With a little more than three months left in the year, both New Angus CEO Doug Cooper and Executive Chairman Keith DeHaan said plans are still that the plant will be open in 2015.

“Everything is on schedule,” DeHaan said Tuesday.

Progress is being made, but there’s a lot to do, Cooper said.

“We want to do it right and do it well,” he said.

New Angus has placed advertisements seeking workers for the plant on the south side of town.

What was then called Northern Beef Packers opened in 2012, but laid off almost all of its employees before filing for bankruptcy and closing the next summer. White Oak Global Advisors, the plant’s largest creditor, bought it at a bankruptcy auction in December 2013. The California-based company created New Angus to run the plant.

The plant has not been open since July 2013.

As company officials work toward reopening the facility, DeHaan said, they’ve been pleased with the local response. He said finding employees is always a challenge and that New Angus isn’t going to be an exception.

“One thing that encourages us is that Aberdeen is a nice, accommodating place to live,” he said. “Our goal is to get people to come here and check it out.”

One benchmark for starting production is approval of a wastewater permit for the facility. This permit must be jointly approved by the city and the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources. City Manager Lynn Lander said that permit is still under consideration. He said both the state and the city have asked for further explanation on parts of the application.

Managing Editor Scott Waltman contributed to this report. Follow @ElisaSand_aan on Twitter.