PM Beef to shut Minnesota plant, cites tight cattle supply

Reuters — PM Beef will close its southwestern Minnesota beef processing plant on Dec. 11, due to tight cattle supplies, the company said Tuesday.

The company announced the Windom plant’s closure to employees and owners during meetings Monday, according to local media.

Prices for slaughter cattle last year hit record highs in the wake of severe drought in 2012 that forced ranchers to downsize their herds.

“Closing the facility was a very difficult but necessary decision based on years of deteriorating industry conditions, including rising cattle prices and limited cattle supply,” said Lisa Hernandez, president of PM Beef Holdings.

The company said it would continue to search for a buyer who might eventually resume operations, Hernandez said.

The PM Beef facility at Windom, about 150 km east of Sioux Falls, S.D., employs about 300 people.

Industry experts estimated the plant slaughters roughly 900 head of cattle per day, compared to some of its larger competitors such as Tyson Foods and JBS Swift, which have an estimated daily slaughter capacity of about 5,000 head.

The closing will hurt those who supply high-grade cattle for the PM Beef plant, said Jim Robb, director of the Colorado-based Livestock Marketing Information Center, adding that PM Beef’s competition would likely buy those cattle at less money.

Theopolis Waters reports on livestock markets for Reuters from Chicago.

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