Tuesday, March 24, 2009

State, electric co-op and local money fund plan for beef processing plant in southeastern Kentucky

A rural Kentucky county on the Tennessee border may be home to a new $110 million beef processing plant, with the state, a local group and a rural electric cooperative putting $260,000 into the planning process. The industrial development board in McCreary County, population 17,000, says the money from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Board is an important first step toward building the plant, which would produce beef jerky, pork rinds, and other meat-based snacks, and would create around 750 jobs for the area.

Kentucky is the No. 1 cattle-producing state east of the Mississippi, but has no specialized beef processing plant. Tennessee also is a relatively large cattle state. "We have this large cattle population, but truck them out west" for finishing and slaughter, Bennie Garland, community development specialist for the South Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative Corp., told the McCreary County Voice. "So it makes sense to look at development of this type of facility in our area. In my opinion, this is one of the best investments the Kentucky Agricultural Board could have made using tobacco funds to strengthen the diversity of our agricultural economy." The board spends the 50 percent of national tobacco-settlement funds that the legislature has allocated for building the state's agricultural economy.

The electric co-op amd the McCreary County Industrial Development Authority each put $65,000 into the plan to match the state money, Andrew Powell reports for the Voice. The county has already conducted a feasibility study on the project, which provided guidance for the type of processing plant that was most likely to be successful. (Read more)

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