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Company announces beef plant in Missouri
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Company announces beef plant in Missouri

MO beef plant graphic

On Nov. 16, American Foods Group announced it plans to build a new beef processing facility in Warren County, Missouri.

The facility would process 2,400 cattle per day once it is fully operational, which the company estimates will happen by the end of 2024. It would employ 1,300 people, and state officials estimate it will have a $1 billion economic impact.

Mike Deering, Missouri Cattlemen’s Association executive vice president, says the quality of the cattle in the area helped bring the facility to Missouri, and he says it will benefit producers in Missouri and neighboring states. He says the family that owns AFG has a long history in the business.

“This family knows the quality of cattle produced in this state by more than 50,000 farm and ranch families,” Deering says. “AFG has long purchased cattle in this state for their other processing plants, and having a company like this in Missouri will undoubtedly help producers here and in surrounding states. The plant is expected to process both cows and fat cattle.”

AFG executive vice president Jim Rathke says he liked what he saw from the county.

“We have been impressed by Warren County and the potential opportunity to become a part of that community,” he says. “The process will take some time, but we feel very good about what we have seen in Warren County, Missouri.”

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson says the company looked at locations in multiple states before picking Missouri, and he says the facility will be good for both farmers and consumers.

“Missouri is able to compete for projects of this magnitude because of our strong agriculture community and business- friendly economy,” he said in a release. “As a third-generation farmer and cattleman myself, I know how beneficial having a company like American Foods Group in Warren County will be for Missouri’s farmers and consumers. We are excited that Missouri is the planned location and remain committed to supporting the company as this project continues to develop in our state.”

Warren County presiding commissioner Joe Gildehaus said in the same release American Foods Group “is a phenomenal, family-owned, U.S.-based company that is highly respect throughout the animal industry and in the communities where they live and work.”

The new beef processing plant announcement comes amid efforts by governments and private companies to expand meatpacking capacity.

In June, the Cattlemen’s Heritage Beef Company announced it would build a 1,500 head per day beef processing facility in Mills County, Iowa. Construction on the southwest Iowa facility is scheduled to being in spring 2022, with the plant opening in late 2023, with an estimated economic impact of $1.1 billion.

Deering says increasing processing in the Midwest helps with efficiency.

“Bringing processing this close to cattle production reduces the costs and energy needed, and it is good for Missouri cattle producers and consumers,” he  says.

Eric Bailey, livestock specialist for University of Missouri Extension, says having more local packing capacity could give producers the option to feed more cattle, especially given the ability to grow good crops and proximity to grains for feed in Missouri and neighboring states.

“We think there’s a real opportunity to strike now and add some value to the cattle industry in Missouri,” Bailey says. “We should feed cattle if we have a competitive edge to take advantage of.”

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Ben Herrold is Missouri field editor, writing for Missouri Farmer Today, Iowa Farmer Today and Illinois Farmer Today.

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