Farmers Union Industries to play pivotal role in plans for new packing plant

Kingsbury & AssociatesJune 16, 2022Agriculture News
Farmers Union IndustriesDale Bednarek, Farmers Union Industries CEO

RAPID CITY, SD – The proposed $1.1 billion beef packing plant in Rapid City got some backing this past week when the group heading the project also announced the plant would be linked to a facility that would be operated by Farmers Union Industries.

Farmers Union Industries (FUI) was founded in 1929 by five state Farmer’s Unions which include Minnesota, Wisconsin, Montana, and North and South Dakota.

Kingsbury & Associates plans to build a plant that would process up to 8,000 head of cattle a day. The proposed plant is expected to take about three years to build and would employ about 2,500 people.  The packing plant would be about 25% larger than some of the largest packing plants already in operation that are owned by the likes of Cargill, JBS, National Beef and Tyson, the four largest beef packers in the country.

Megan Kingsbury, CEO of Kingsbury & Associates, announced the new name for the project will be Western Legacy Development Corporation.

“We are also happy to announce a relationship with Farmers Union Industries to provide on-site byproduct processing.”  Farmers Union Industries will build next to the packing plant to handle byproducts out of the facility, using meat and bone meal as well as making tallow and grease products for the feed ingredients industry and industrial products.

Dale Bednarek, Farmers Union Industries CEO added, “Farmers Union Industries and Farmers Union Enterprises are very happy and want to form this partnership with Western Legacy Development Corporation.  We think this is a great opportunity not only for us but to give back to the family farmers of not only South Dakota but the neighboring states.”

Doug Sombke, president of the South Dakota Farmers Union, said he and others from Farmers Union have met with Kingsbury at least four times now, which led to the joint venture in which Farmers Union Industries agreed to become part of a research and development committee on the project.

“Right now, Farmers Union Industries will be involved. I personally am not sure what my role will be in that, but our CEO will for sure be involved,” Sombke said. ” It’s a damned good opportunity for us to help our producers and our own rendering business.”

The Rapid City Industrial Park is the preferred site for the facility. “We’re continuing to work through appropriate processes to ensure that we are good neighbors and responsible citizens both from the standpoint of utilizing green energy technology as well as making certain that we have all of our boxes checked to keep the community happy,” said Kingsbury. “We will recycle a majority of the water used at the facility, and we have been working on efficient transportation methods.”  Cattle will be unloaded directly into the facility off the truck and/or rail cars and will not be penned outside.  

The $1.1B state-of-the-art facility is scheduled to break ground at the beginning of 2023 and is expected to be completed by 2025.