Possible beef plant would process 120-head a day

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A possible beef-processing plant in Lincoln County would be much smaller than its national counterparts and larger than a typical small-town locker.

East Dakota Beef had been working with the county on a process to establish a 120-head-a-day processing center near Worthing, near the sale barn near Canton, just off Interstate 90 and Highway 18.

In contrast, a Tyson beef-processing plant in Sioux City has the capacity to process several thousand cattle a day.

A county-wide vote is set for Tuesday, July 27, on a request to re-zone a parcel of land that was selected for the possible plant, said David Coburn, East Dakota Beef’s chief operating officer. The vote would determine whether East Dakota pursues a plant, Coburn said. If it’s a yes vote, the company may consider moving ahead, even after there was some public resistance, he said.

“We want a small plant to serve the county…for economic development of a small town,” Coburn said. “This would be a small facility where local farmers can get a better price than they can from a slaughterhouse.”

A location photo for a possible beef processing plant. This photo was included in an East Dakota Beef presentation included in a Lincoln County Board of Commissioners meeting.

But there has been resistance. Copies of written letters submitted to the Lincoln County Commissioners cited concerns about increased traffic, potential release of toxins to the environment, general pollution and others.

Coburn said East Dakota had agreed to maintain and repair a road. The plant would not render waste on site but after one to two days that material would be sent to a processing plant for use in other products, Coburn said.

Meat processing results in fats and other solids in the waste.

The site would use a dissolved air flotation (DAF) system to break down and treat the waste in lagoons. “Basically, all you are left with is a glass of dirty water…,” Coburn said. The water that remains after DAF treatment is used for field irrigation, he said.

“If constructed and operated as designed, Dissolved Air Floatation Systems can be an effective treatment option,” the DANR said in an email response to KELOLAND News questions about DAF. “As part of the permitting process, DANR requires applicants to submit treatment system plans and specifications for review and approval prior to construction to ensure the proposed treatment option will comply with state requirements.”

Coburn said East Dakota’s plan would meet and exceed DANR’s requirements.

The entire treatment system uses anaerobic and aerobic process with bacteria to treat the waste, Coburn said.

Studies and industry information on DAF include material from Australia and New Zealand.

PDP acid-alkali pH treatment and DAF in series system (patent pending) has resulted in a clearer effluent with less lime usage as the float sludge is harvested after the acid phase, according to research called Phosphorus Removal From Meat Processing Wastewater: Innovation in Process Design from New Zealand.

An October 2009 study published in Chemical Engineering Journal said that results show that the DAF process followed by an AOP process might be efficient for meat wastewater treatment, intended or not to water reuse purposes. AOP is advanced oxidation processes.

The possible plant would process three loads of cattle per day from eastern South Dakota and southwestern Minnesota, Coburn.

East Dakota Beef’s chief executive officer is Tyson Anderson, a cattle producer from Storden, Minnesota.

Anderson approached him to help develop a processing plant, Coburn said.

A possible plant fits Governor Kristi Noem’s ideas to encourage the start-up of small processors and meat lockers to provide options to local livestock producers, Coburn said.

“It 100% fits the USDA (plan) and South Dakota Governor Noem’s program,” Coburn said.

Earlier this month, the USDA announced a $500 million plan to expand meat-processing options. The plan targeted $150 million to existing small and very small meat-processing facilities.

Coburn said the possible plant would include cold storage for processed meats.

A producer would bring cattle to the plant where they would be processed into products from hamburger to steak cuts. The products could be stored in cold storage until the owner/producer sells them or until the buyer needs them or can get them.

East Dakota Beef will process the beef for a price but it does not buy or own the beef, Coburn said. The company doesn’t care who the producer sells the beef too, he said.

East Dakota Beef is made up of investors but Coburn declined to provide details on how much the plant would charge or how investors intend to make money from the project.

If voters in Lincoln County approve the re-zoning, East Dakota Beef would consider working with the landowner on a proposal, Coburn said. It would also need to apply for a conditional use permit to build any meat-processing plant, Coburn said.

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