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Local Cattlemen Proposed SD-Owned Packing Plant; Rounds Favored Out-of-Staters

South Dakota might not be facing the fallout from the Northern Beef Packers bankruptcy if former Governor M. Michael Rounds had been a yokel and bought local... or in this case, invested local. Carrie Stadheim of Tri-State Livestock News learns from Herreid cattleman Bob Thullner that he and some local business associates had a plan to build a smaller slaughterhouse to support the local beef market in the mid-2000s, but that state officials preferred to deal with out-of-state investors:

The Campbell County producer was frustrated a decade ago, however, with the state’s financing choices, saying that in the early 2000s, he and a group of independent producers had entered into final discussions with the state regarding financing for a smaller packing plant that would have processed about 150 head per day. “It came to the point that an outside investor was going to build a plant in the state and the governor and ag department thought they had something going with them, and just kind of let us drop.”

Thullner is disappointed with the then-governor Mike Rounds, who was busy promoting his own dream of a South Dakota certified beef label (which never materialized) and didn’t work with the industry to grow a packing plant supported by local producers, but instead forged ahead with a project funded by east coast investors [Carrie Stadheim, "SD Packing Plant Files for Chapter 11," Tri-State Livestock News, 2013.07.23].

Stadheim talks to now-Senate candidate Rounds, who offers no response as to why he picked the outside money over local development. He just golly-gees that everyone in the ag industry goes through tough times, shrugs at the possibility that a big packing company will buy Northern Beef Packers, aw-shuckses that he doesn't recall how much the state sunk into NBP (here's a reminder, Mike), and maintains that NBP and his failed South Dakota Certified Beef program are "valid concepts."

Valid, yes... but only if you're a foreign investor promising big investments with big commissions and who won't be around to watch you as closely as South Dakota investors.


  1. MJL 2013.07.30

    I think Stace Nelson will enjoy using this as an example of which side Michael Rounds is really on when it come to Ag and South Dakota. Have fun making lots of hay (and straw and millet too) with this revelation.

  2. Rick 2013.07.30

    There isn't a single member of Cattlemen's Association or the Stockgrowers who don't know which side Rounds is on. Rhoden's going to siphon off those votes which won't hurt Rounds. He didn't care when he sent State Troopers to serve papers on ranchers when he was governor. He doesn't care now.

  3. TCMack 2013.07.30

    There is very little live for Rounds on that part of the state. If you ask around up there about the failed coal power plant in Selby. Some blame Rounds that too, because his influence of trying to put Pierre in the running for a location. Then delayed the project until it was canceled last year. Granted that rumors I hear when I was home a couple years ago.

  4. Rick 2013.07.30

    Rounds killed the Selby power plant project? Gee, I remember a reporter in our state said it was due to liberals and Obama. Wonder why he said that.

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