January 18, 2022

Beef plant looks for investors

A spokesperson for a proposed beef-processing facility in Mills County spoke Monday in Creston looking for investors in the $450 million project.

Construction is expected to begin this spring.

Bill Menner of The Bill Menner Group, an Iowa based consulting firm emphasizing in rural development projects, explained the plant and its impact on the Iowa cattle industry. The plant is from Cattlemen’s Heritage with developer Chad Tentinger.

The plant will be designed to process 1,500 head of cattle a day with one shift in operation five and one-half days a week. The plant will have 750 employees and economists predict it will have a $1.1 billion impact annually.

“This is an economic development bonanza,” Menner told the audience at Quality Inn hotel. “Bonanza is not a big enough word.”

Menner has planned other meetings in Mount Ayr and Greenfield this week plus other parts of the western one-third of Iowa.

“This plant is an opportunity for the state and its producers,” he said.

Menner said the plant will not be like other beef-processing plants in the state that have much greater daily volume and multiple shifts. He called those plants and their influence on the cattle industry unsustainable.

“It’s not supposed to be that way,” he said.

Menner said Secretary of Agriculture and former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack said there is lack of competition in the beef industry.

“This caught the attention of the federal government,” Menner said. “This is a big deal.”

The plant, located near an intersection of Interstate 29 in northern Mills County will produce premium cuts of beef.

“The demand for beef is growing,” he said. “From the Missouri River to I-35 is rich with family-oriented produces and top quality beef.”

The plant will be on 132 acres of land with room for future expansion. It is expected to be operational in December 2023. The location was selected because of proximity to an interstate, railroad and experienced labor pool between Omaha, Nebraska, and Council Bluffs.

Menner said the plant’s four ideals are a sustainable operation, medium size, innovation and transparency and producer owned.

He said there is $75 million to $90 million available in grants to fund construction. Cattlemen’s Heritage is offering to sell 100,000 units to investors. The minimum purchase is 67 units for a total of $100,500. Each unit is $1,500.

The Bill Menner Group is an Iowa-based consulting firm specializing in rural development initiatives, community-based infrastructure, housing and health care.

Menner was appointed in 2009 by the Obama Administration to serve as the state director of USDA Rural Development in Iowa, charged with carrying out the Administration’s strategy for increasing economic opportunity and improving the quality of life for all rural Americans

John Van Nostrand

JOHN VAN NOSTRAND

An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.