Chinese beef deal includes Montana slaughterhouse - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

Chinese beef deal includes Montana slaughterhouse

Posted: Updated:
BOZEMAN -

Feed lots and slaughterhouses are few and far between in Montana, but that could change as Chinese investor JD.com pledges $100 million to build a local processing facility.

This is part of a deal announced Wednesday between JD.com, Senator Steve Daines and Montana beef producers.

The deal is huge for Montana's economy, as it is expected to increase our state's beef exports by 40%.

But ag experts say building large-scale local slaughterhouses has its pros and cons.

MSU associate professor of agriculture economics, Brian Belasco, specializes in livestock marketing.

His reaction to china's commitment to buying at least $200 million of Montana beef wasn't one of surprise.

"I think it's a great thing for the future," Belasco said. "I think it's something that the Montana Stockgrowers Association recognizes as important going forward and Senator Daines has really been on the forefront of pushing that deal as well."

But when he saw the part of the deal including a $100 million investment into a local slaughterhouse...

"That was a bit of a surprise to me, you know the majority of our beef gets processed in concentrated areas right now. About 80% of it is in Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and outside of there you don't see a lot of big processing facilities, and Montana is included in that."

Belasco says most large slaughter and pack houses are in very close proximity to big feed lots.

"Even though we do have a lot of cattle here, it's hard to keep them here because we don't have a lot of corn we don't have a lot of barley to really feed all the cows, so keeping them in the state becomes a challenge."

For Montana ranchers, local processing facilities would help them save on the transportation costs of shipping cows out and packaged beef back in.

It would also keep meat totally local. 

"There's a lot of pride in Montana beef product and that's one thing you heard with the China deal," Belasco said.

But on the flip side, Belasco says processing facilities are low-margin high-volume businesses that have a history of going belly-up.

"There was a processing facility in South Dakota that opened up and failed pretty quickly and I think you hear a lot f stories like that."

One thing Belasco really wants to emphasize is scale. Would adding slaughterhouses and feedlots to Montana really be more profitable and efficient than shipping cattle out of state?

"It's not just in beef it's across agriculture. You know we think of transportation costs as being something that is going to stop people from producing in a certain way. But it turns out those costs are pretty small when you see all the benefits you can get," Belasco said.

Belasco says an obvious perk is processing facilities would create jobs from inspectors to butchers.

The location has not yet been announced, but there is talk of Billings area, Great falls area or even around Bozeman.

Sen. Daines said in his announcement, construction of the processing facility could start as soon as 2018.

  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Earthquake hits while Montana school practices earthquake drills

    Earthquake hits while Montana school practices earthquake drills

    Tuesday, October 16 2018 3:03 PM EDT2018-10-16 19:03:52 GMT

    BELGRADE - It was a once-in-a-lifetime coincidence when an earthquake rumbled Belgrade while students were practicing for that very event.

    BELGRADE - It was a once-in-a-lifetime coincidence when an earthquake rumbled Belgrade while students were practicing for that very event.

  • Belgrade dog shot in backyard; owners, police search for suspects

    Wednesday, October 17 2018 1:16 AM EDT2018-10-17 05:16:28 GMT

    A Belgrade family is looking for answers, after their 2-year-old Great Pyrenees, Kuva, was shot in the chest their fenced backyard last Thursday. 

    A Belgrade family is looking for answers, after their 2-year-old Great Pyrenees, Kuva, was shot in the chest their fenced backyard last Thursday. 

  • Butte community helps stranded couple in need

    Butte community helps stranded couple in need

    Wednesday, October 17 2018 10:33 PM EDT2018-10-18 02:33:52 GMT

    BUTTE- The community of Butte came together this past weekend to help a couple after they were stranded in a snow storm.  Kim Hoey and James Robinson were on there way from Belgrade to Oklahoma when they decided to stop at Pigeon Creek Campground near Butte. 

    BUTTE- The community of Butte came together this past weekend to help a couple after they were stranded in a snow storm.  Kim Hoey and James Robinson were on there way from Belgrade to Oklahoma when they decided to stop at Pigeon Creek Campground near Butte. 

  • Donald Daters app for Trump supporters aims to 'Make America Date Again'

    Donald Daters app for Trump supporters aims to 'Make America Date Again'

    Tuesday, October 16 2018 12:33 PM EDT2018-10-16 16:33:31 GMT

    A new app aims to help young Trump supporters seeking refuge from "liberal intolerance" - but it's scrambling to fix a security issue that arose when it launched.

    A new app aims to help young Trump supporters seeking refuge from "liberal intolerance" - but it's scrambling to fix a security issue that arose when it launched.

  • NorthWestern Energy says customers lost $3k in scam

    NorthWestern Energy says customers lost $3k in scam

    Wednesday, October 17 2018 7:29 PM EDT2018-10-17 23:29:58 GMT

    BUTTE - NorthWestern Energy is warning of a new phone scam involving a false claim of overdue utility bills.

    BUTTE - NorthWestern Energy is warning of a new phone scam involving a false claim of overdue utility bills.

  • Finally, indisputable proof: Bigfoot spotted in northern California

    Finally, indisputable proof: Bigfoot spotted in northern California

    Friday, January 9 2015 6:52 PM EST2015-01-09 23:52:03 GMT
    Saturday, January 10 2015 4:33 PM EST2015-01-10 21:33:06 GMT
    ROSEVILLE, Cali.- There is new, indisputable proof that Bigfoot exists, and has been spending most of his time in northern California. The footage was sent to a Paranormal group by a photographer/videographer who specializes in aerial videography using a quadcopter. A quadcopter is a drone that is lifted and propelled by 4 rotors.
    ROSEVILLE, Cali.- There is new, indisputable proof that Bigfoot exists, and has been spending most of his time in northern California. The footage was sent to a Paranormal group by a photographer/videographer who specializes in aerial videography using a quadcopter. A quadcopter is a drone that is lifted and propelled by 4 rotors.
  • Missoula organization coordinating Trump counter-event

    Missoula organization coordinating Trump counter-event

    Tuesday, October 16 2018 10:23 PM EDT2018-10-17 02:23:00 GMT

    One Missoula organization is coordinating what they call a "community event" in response to President Trump's visit on Thursday. 

    One Missoula organization is coordinating what they call a "community event" in response to President Trump's visit on Thursday. 

  • Trump family secret service code names

    Trump family secret service code names

    Wednesday, October 17 2018 1:36 PM EDT2018-10-17 17:36:15 GMT

    MISSOULA - As Secret Service agents and government officials arrive in Montana for another presidential visit, we decided to look up President Trump's Secret Service code name. 

    MISSOULA - As Secret Service agents and government officials arrive in Montana for another presidential visit, we decided to look up President Trump's Secret Service code name. 

Powered by Frankly

Features

  • More Features
  • Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 Cowles Montana Media. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.