Huron beefing up

South Dakota State Roundup

Published November 1, 2004  | November 2004 issue

Huron has a long history in meat processing, but over the years has lost plants to market consolidation and modern technology. But the city is on its way to regaining its position as the agriculture business center of the state with fall groundbreaking ceremonies for both beef and turkey processing plants.

Ridgefield Farms of South Dakota plans to open its $43 million state-of-the-art beef processing facility east of Huron in October 2005. The 125,000-square-foot plant is expected to employ 250 to 300 people.

Also east of Huron, Dakota Turkey Growers LLC broke ground for a $45 million turkey processing plant, to be up and running in January 2006. That facility will have about 400 employees when it begins processing roughly 3 million turkeys per year. Most of the stock will come from Hutterite colonies, that is, religion-based farming communities in the state; currently they ship their birds to processors in Minnesota and Iowa. As the plant's capacity grows to the anticipated level of 8 million turkeys per year, a total of 750 to 1,000 workers would likely be needed.

Kathy Cobb