Unhappy with prices, ranchers look to build own meat plants

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Frustrated with persistently low prices, ranchers and others in the beef industry are moving to reverse a long trend of consolidation and planning to open new slaughterhouses.

The new plants typically cost more than $300 million, but they still will be much smaller than those owned by the four meat company giants that slaughter over 80% of the nation’s cattle.

That has led to some skepticism about whether the new independent plants can succeed. David Briggs is the CEO of a proposed plant in western Iowa.

He says acknowledges the tough odds but says cattle people are risk takers.