Neb. cattlemen congregate in Mullen | TheFencePost.com
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Neb. cattlemen congregate in Mullen

Large gathering was due in part to producers wanting to hear about the proposed beef processing plant for North Platte

MULLEN, Neb. — The Nebraska Cattlemen Sandhills Affiliate hosted their annual summer outing at the Dismal River Golf Club on June 21.

“This is one of our annual events we host. Sixty golfers, the most we have ever had, enjoyed a great day of golf. The DRGC provided the great beef meal to 90 who came that evening,” said Kelly Kennedy, Purdum, treasurer for the NCSA.

John Kraye, Mullen, president of the local cattlemen affiliate welcomed all for coming. Besides Kraye and Kennedy, other NCSA board members include Frank Utter, Eric Schipporeit, and Dan Wacher, Brewster, Stefani Niesen, Purdum, Troy Saner, Adam Zutavern, Dunning and Miles Mundorf, Mullen. Kraye went on to thank the sponsors for the day’s events — Western Nebraska Bank, Agri Affiliates, Harsh Mercantile, and Al and Sallie Atkins, Halsey.



Members of the NCSA play a role on the state level as well, here they mingle with past, present and future Nebraska Cattlemen presidents, left to right, John Kraye, Mullen, seedstock committee vice-chair, Steve Hanson, NC vice president from Elsie, JD Alexander, past state and national president, current president William Rhea III from Arlington, next to the 2022 NC president, Brenda Masek, Purdum, Al Atkins, Halsey, vice chair of cow/calf, Mike Drinnin, NC president in 2019, and Frank Utter, Brewster, cow/calf committee chairman. Photo by Terri Licking

Prior to supper, Katie Tangen, marketing education specialist with Ag Country of Farm Credit Services spoke on Cattle Market Updates. She is from Fargo, N.D. “In North Dakota, we are in a severe drought. Our governor predicts by December, 50% of our cow numbers will be gone. One sale barn this time last year had 10 pairs sold, this year, 1,200 pairs have been sold.” One of her most potent slides was the list of ag commodities and their price change over the last few years. At the bottom — feeder cattle had a negative 0.63% change while live cattle had a plus 8.06%. Three locations of wheat markets had from 26.72 to 39.5% increase, while corn saw a 65.87%, soybeans 73.42% and soybean oil a whopping 148.80% positive change.

After Tangen’s presentation, Brenda Masek, who will become Nebraska Cattlemen president at their convention in December in Kearney, spoke about the happenings with NC. She brought to light for those that were unaware, a petition going around to stop the Beef Check-Off. “Some may think this petition is for change, but it is to abolish the check-off. If you feel the check-off needs improvement, and you have ideas, please let the Nebraska Beef Council know.” She implored the importance of the check-off — helping with marketing and promotion both here and abroad, research and educating the consumers are just some of the facets of the $1 per head investment producers make when selling their cattle. Frank Utter then told the group about the proposed feeder calf tour the NCSA and the Sandhills Cattle Association are planning. “It will be a two-day venture, headquartered in Thedford. The first day we hope to see calves in the Mullen — Thedford area, then go east or north the next day.” He encouraged producers in the area to contact him or John Kraye if they are interested in showing their animals to feedlot personnel.



Members of the NCSA play a role on the state level as well, here they mingle with past, present and future Nebraska Cattlemen presidents, left to right, John Kraye, Mullen, seedstock committee vice-chair, Steve Hanson, NC vice president from Elsie, JD Alexander, past state and national president, current president William Rhea III from Arlington, next to the 2022 NC president, Brenda Masek, Purdum, Al Atkins, Halsey, vice chair of cow/calf, Mike Drinnin, NC president in 2019, and Frank Utter, Brewster, cow/calf committee chairman. Photo by Terri Licking

NEW BEEF PROCESSING PLANT

The NCSA was well pleased with the attendance, probably due in part to the last presentation of the evening. David Briggs, CEO of the newly formed Sustainable Beef LLC, a cattle processing plant coming to North Platte. The idea came after Rusty Kemp, Tryon rancher was with Gov. Pete Ricketts on a trade mission. They discussed need for more processing of beef in Nebraska. Kemp came back, and started the ball rolling, finding other investors and enthusiasts. Briggs went on to explain, “We went to the Panhandle communities and got a negative reception. We went to North Platte who gave us a very favorable response. We feel the three Cs are met in North Platte — that of a city central in Nebraska and on the edge of the Sandhills, the best beef producing area in the world, which is the second C that of cattle — Nebraska ranks second in cattle on feed with over 2.4 million head fed annually. The final C is capital, where producers can invest in ownership.”

He went on to describe the proposed plant. “The location is near ideal, already in a heavy industrial zone. It is close to I-80 exit 179. It will sit on 80 acres, which was the old sewer plant, so land will need to be raised. It is next to the wastewater treatment plant, which is crucial as it takes between 400 to 600 gallons of water per head to process.” Estimated cost of the plant is $325 million with another $75 to $100 million needed for salaries, maintenance and such. Estimates of employees are 875, with 800 on the floor. “One shift only at this point is projected, with average wage of workers being $50,000 per year or $50 million for payroll per year. North Platte could see $1 billion in economic benefit per year. The plant is contingent on TIF (Tax Increment Financing). As to date, the proposal has gone before the city council and had their support, but other hearings will be needed. “We hope to break ground this fall and be complete by 2023.” The plant hopes to process 400,000 head per year, including cull cows where they will process their own hamburger from them at the plant. Briggs answered other questions after his formal presentation concluded. “Investors will pay $100 per head and guarantee at least one semi-trailer load per month. Small producers can collaborate, one producer has the contract, but if they can guarantee a semi-load for four to five months out of the year that can be a way for them to get rid of their cull cows every year and be a part of Sustainable Beef LLC.”


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