PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The Governor’s Office of Economic Development has decided against accepting the only response it received to a request for proposals on ways to analyze loan and grant applications from meat-packing facilities.

GOED finance director Travis Dovre explained the situation Wednesday during a teleconference meeting by the South Dakota Board of Economic Development. He recommended withdrawal of the request for proposals, known as an RFP, and said the staff would re-evaluate its needs.

He said there was a possibility that another RFP could be issued in the future. Board member Tom Jones of Sioux Falls asked why there had been only one response. Dovre said he didn’t want to speculate on the reason. “Huh,” Jones said.

The request explained what GOED wanted to accomplish by seeking an outside consultant.

“Since the Covid-19 pandemic, South Dakota has had a lot of interest in new small to mid-sized beef and pork processing plants,” it stated. “The Board of Economic Development understands many of the challenges associated with the startup of these types of facilities but desires a more in-depth analysis of the current industry as it exists today along with the potential impact of adding additional processing capacity in the state. The final analysis will be utilized, in whole or in part, by the Board when considering future loan and grant requests for such projects.”

The RFP said there was up to $100,000 available for the contractor. The scope of work called for information on:

Available cattle supply;

Sales and marketing, both on the procurement and finished product side;

Processing economics, both direct and overhead costs ;

A reasonable capital stack such as debt to equity ratio at startup;

Costs associated with rural construction and rural residual values of MPP facilities;

The small packing industry as it exists today in South Dakota; and

True workforce availability.

The board’s chair, Jeff Erickson of Sioux Falls, reviewed the single response. “We thought it would be very similar to what our staff was already getting from clients,” Erickson said. Looking ahead, he said, “We may see something like this come back.”

“It’s a shame,” Jones said about the relative lack of interest.

“I agree,” said Erickson.