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New beef processing venture hopes to level the playing field for producers

A first-of-its-kind beef processing facility will help level the playing field for cattle producers in its region. 

Ross Wilson, a consultant for Producer Owned Beef, says the recently announced facility, located in Amarillo, Texas, will reverse the compensation disparities currently facing cattle producers.  “It’s about capturing a share of that income or that dollar that today is, is being captured by predominantly the large four packing plants that process, 80 to 85 percent of the fed cattle in the nation,” he says. 

Wilson says the cattle will be fed in Texas, Oklahoma, or New Mexico, but can originate in other areas. “Within a 150-mile radius of Amarillo, Texas, 25 to 28% of the nation’s fed beef supply is in that area,’ he says.  “Yet that area ranks number three in beef processing capacity.”  The $670 million state-of-the-art processing facility will process around 3,000 head per day and will bring nearly 1,600 jobs to the area.

He tells Brownfield the owners of this facility will be cattle producers of all sizes.  “From a few hundred head to several thousand,” he says.  “And we have that in our current set of participants, and I think we’ll continue to see that. So, it is about the long-term sustainability and viability of the area, and the cattle industry in this area.”

Wilson says the group hopes to break ground on this new facility early in 2023 and open its doors by 2025.

Cattle supplies have been tightening due to ongoing drought conditions, but Wilson says the group is optimistic that an end to the drought is near, and doesn’t expect it to impact operations.  “Producers in this part of the of the world are used to dealing with drought,” he says.  “We were dry back in 10, 11, and 12 and we rapidly rebuilt the cow herd.”

He says this business model was borrowed from pork producers in the Midwest, where it has been tested for several years and been successful. 

AUDIO: Ross Wilson, Producer Owned Beef

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