Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor has partnered with a pork producer to convert a beef packing plant in southwest Minnesota into a state-of-the-art pork processing facility.
PM Beef in Windom closed December 11th citing deteriorating industry conditions and rising cattle prices.
Greg Strobel raises 400,000 hogs per year near Pemberton and says he began exploring options for a packing plant with Taylor and another partner about a year ago.
“We were looking at another opportunity that ended up not going forward, but involved a packing plant also. As that started to look like it wasn’t going to be a venture we were going to be involved in, we heard the PM Beef plant was going to close it’s doors so we started looking at that plant.”
The conversion will include a new feed yard system, state-of-the-art robotics and integration of old equipment with modern technology on the cut floor.
Strobel tells Brownfield the location is nearly ideal.
“It’s very local to where we do a lot of our business (and) raise a lot of pigs. And it just so happens that Glen is from (a town) 20 minutes down the road from Windom, so he felt like it was giving back to the community and helping the community out.”
The closing of PM Beef resulted in the loss of more than 260 jobs and Strobel says when the pork processing plant begins operations, 250 to 300 people will be employed in the first six months.
“And we have enough room in the plant to further process as we go down the road, so that would mean additional jobs at that point.”
Strobel expects the plant, called Prime Pork, to be operational by the beginning of 2017 and harvest about 1.5 million hogs annually at full capacity.
He says there will only be three to four producers delivering to the plant, which will specialize in Duroc swine and be ractopamine-free.