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Friday, July 9, 2021

Planned beef plant means 'tremendous opportunity' for Iowa ranchers

[Radio Iowa]

Cattle producers see hope in a new beef processing plant coming to southwest Iowa in 2023, as ranchers often complain about limited choices when it’s time to sell their beef cattle. A new company, Cattlemen’s Heritage, will build a facility on the Mills-Pottawattamie county line to process 1,500 head of cattle per day. Iowa State University livestock economist Lee Schulz says another player in the packing industry means “tremendous opportunity” for Iowa producers.

"Locally, that should really help competition for the cattle that are available," Schulz says. "Cattle can only travel so far and so the largest impact is going to be to producers in that area."

Four big meatpackers control most of the beef slaughter and farm groups say less market competition means lower prices for cattle. The new plant should help to change those dynamics and Schulz says it'll have ripple effects across the region.

He says, "If that's the new demand there, the other plants are going to have to bid higher prices or go out further distances to find cattle to supply their plants."

Schulz says it’s hard to say how much the new plant will affect prices because markets and production costs are constantly changing.

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