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NBP/New Angus Still Quiet; Contractors Fixing Bollen-Era Mistakes

The Northern Beef Packers plant remains an idle monument to the errors of the EB-5 visa investment program in South Dakota.

Northern Beef Packers slaughterhouse, now known as New Angus, awaits its advertised 2015 reopening. Aberdeen, South Dakota, 2015.05.24. Photo by CAH.
Northern Beef Packers wasn’t open long enough to put up a complete fence. Photo by CAH, 2015.05.24.
NBP-New Angus has its own moat, filled by drainage flowing south from Aberdeen. Photo by CAH, 2015.05.24.
NBP-New Angus has its own moat, filled by drainage flowing south from Aberdeen. Photo by CAH, 2015.05.24.
NBP-New Angus kinda moat
Well, kind of a moat. Photo by CAH, 2015.05.24.
NBP/New Angus security gate, 2015.05.24
Until the moat is finished, NBP-New Angus can rely on its 24-hour security, the only regular operation at the facility. Photo by CAH, 2015.05.24.

The beef plant, renamed New Angus by its bankruptcy-sale buyers, has offered no new information on its progress toward its goal of restarting operations this year. A local source says that, in addition to maintenance crews, some contractors are in and out of the facility replacing some equipment that wasn’t done right the first time.

Hmm… could the “not done right” list include the potentially flaky galvanized steel Northern Beef Packers used? What other landmines did Joop Bollen and JamesPark leave with their mismanagement of Northern Beef Packers for New Angus?

Pavement ends at the NBP-New Angus gate. Photo by CAH, 2015.05.24


  1. John 2015-05-25 09:40

    The town of Howard also has a unoccupied beef plant. At $11.00/lb for some cuts, perhaps there will never be a need to re-open such facilities.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-05-25 09:48

    I wonder why that Howard facility never found a buyer for reopening. Too small? Not on a major highway intersection? Not enough workforce or housing?

  3. Jane 2015-05-25 10:39

    For a two guys that like the finer things in life, Joop Bollen and James Park sure did produce something down right nasty here.
    anyone know of what is happening with these cases? Other than Joop Bollens latest project to reproduce?

  4. John 2015-05-25 11:22

    As I understand, it is owned by someone but nothing is being done at the moment. When the local locker burned down, the locker folks rented the beef plant to keep going while the locker was re-built.

  5. Paul Seamans 2015-05-25 15:35

    The Big 4 packers control 84 percent of the beef market. Plants like New Angus and the Howard plant have to find a niche in the other 16 percent of the market. The Big 4 will not allow them into their share of the cow pie (ha-ha, I made a funny).

  6. jerry 2015-05-25 16:07

    @Jane, that “something down right nasty” is code for $120,000,000.00. One Hundred Twenty Million buckeroos is a whole lot of nasty for the flying dutchman and the takee outee dude. I see the other chef of nasty, the eggroll man himself, Marion Rounds has an article about veterans. About makes you puke when you read his bullshit. He ain’t no friend of veterans that is for sure nor is he a friend of agriculture. He is what he is, a common crook.

  7. larry kurtz 2015-05-25 18:31

    Under other GOP South Dakota governors Brohm went bust and the Homestake filled with water: why should anything be different in Aberdeen?

  8. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-05-25 19:16

    I’m looking for it on the map. Is that it on county road 14? I don’t see any pens on the satellite view, and not much for barns. Did it ever function at all? I worked at Swift/Armour in Huron for 3 years. More structure is necessary.

  9. larry kurtz 2015-05-25 19:22

    Beef is a gateway drug: loaded with antibiotics taking 1800 gallons of water to put one pound on a steer times how many thousands of head?

    How is a subsidized plant like Gnu Angus conservative or sustainable?

    Shell games and Future Fund: when you poor bastards get angry?

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-05-25 21:21

    Deb, yes, that’s it: County Road 14W, between the NorthWestern power station on the west and the city water treatment plant on the east. The plant functioned for about nine months, from October 2012 to July 2013. I’d never thought of the barn/pen aspect. The press generally said the plant never reached its advertised capacity of 1,500 head per day. When they laid off a quarter of their workforce in April 2013, they were processing 200 head per day. Could it be they never reached the point where they had to keep livestock on the premises waiting for slaughter, that basically they were always able to slaughter cattle right off the truck?

  11. Les 2015-05-25 22:12

    If it opens, how long will it take to convert our operations to finishing fats instead of providing feeders? This was never designed to succeed or the engineering would have been more around the local feeder market availability and sales of finished product and less about offshore dollars, both coming and going.

  12. Deb Geelsdottir 2015-05-25 23:58

    Cory, it’s highly unusual that there’s no need for holding pens. Generally truckers don’t make any money waiting for their load to slowly funnel down a runway into the building. A decent meat packing plant always wants to have critters overnight in the pens so they’re ready to roll at 6:00am.

    They need to have enormous refrigeration facilities to chill the sides overnight before cutting it into smaller pieces. When the beef is hot it’s gutted, skinned, innards are processed, and the carcass split. Then the sides are hung in the cooler till the next day.

    The next day the carcass is quartered and rough cut. By that I mean flanks, loins, shoulders, ribs and a few other pieces are cut. But separate steaks and roasts are not cut. The loin is shipped to the butcher shop or grocery store, where they cut the pieces as they like. So in addition to the coolers they need a variety of saws and knives, skinning machines, extensive waterworks, box making equipment, overhead lines, and that’s only a fraction of what is needed to make up a meat packing plant that processes a few hundred head of cattle per day.

    If there is a major breakdown, like a water or power problem, they need to have facilities to feed the livestock. I don’t see anything for hay or grain storage, let alone feeding wagons and tractors. Nor is there anything to clean out pens or barns.

    I have to agree with Les. From what I can see on the map, it doesn’t look like it was designed to succeed as a going business. Holding pens, plenty of turn around space for semis, loading docks, etc. It looks more like a remote shipping site or somewhat oversized country locker plant.

  13. Nick Nemec 2015-05-26 00:29

    I’m impressed Deb. You’ve pointed out some aspects of this plant that are severely lacking and no one else was addressing.

  14. Jane 2015-05-26 05:09

    How is it possible for a group of people to perpetuate these failures without any repercussions? Seems SD EB-5 is still in operation, as the website is still active. Joop Bollen is enjoying a growing family. Wonder if he will okay his daughter to marry a guy 30 years her senior someday? James Park has his own firm, another eb-5 promoting solar power
    Like they closed shop, only to open another on the other street.

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-05-26 07:16

    Very good points, Deb, especially about the need for onsite storage in case of a breakdown and truckers’ need to get moving.

    I’ve talked about the money poured into the plant; my Googling reminds me that Northern Beef Packers itself bragged about having raised $150 million… and all that money still didn’t buy the necessary facilities Deb is talking about.

    Jane, any chance Park will put some of his solar panels here in South Dakota? Maybe they could power New Angus.

  16. Nick Nemec 2015-05-26 08:26

    Paul Seamans points out the primary reason why this plant is doomed to failure. The big four packers will never let an upstart into the business to compete with them. New Angus must figure out a niche market that is unaddressed by the big four. South Dakota grown is not a niche that consumers care about. Angus is not a niche (everyone does angus) and is a bit of a fraud, angus programs allow any black hided animal to qualify without regard to bloodlines. Organic or grass fed might be a niche but they will never find a big enough supply of either to run this plant to capacity.

  17. jerry 2015-05-26 08:59

    There is really only one solution to the whole EB-5 fiasco for the state of South Dakota and that would be as We Grow facility. When cannabis is legalized in the state, this place would be the perfect spot with buildings up and ready to go into production.

    Aberdeen and Brown County would see their investment come back in spades. The state would realize a huge tax bonus that the lions share would go to education. Of course, some would say that is a stretch, but when the gambling was allowed in the state, it was sold on the fact that money would be directed to education, remember?? Bueller?? Bueller?? Ferris Bueller?

  18. Les 2015-05-26 09:47

    If the real meat company from Wisconsins bid would have been used in that fraudulent bankruptcy auction, it would have had the niche necessary to succeed and we would have had 40+Mil in the bank instead of valuing the internal corruption that sent 30Mil offshore.

  19. Lynn 2015-05-26 10:56

    I’d like to see that beef plant be successful for the city of Aberdeen and the region but I just don’t see it.

    Will there be enough cattle in the region or be profitable to truck the cattle from outside the region to keep this plant going where it could be profitable production wise?

    Is it possible to make a diversified production line to handle specialty products such as grass or corn fed Organic Beef and be able to switch to Bison or any other higher end product? Again will there be enough supply? There is an operation that raises and processes Bison products but to support the former NBP plant that would be on a very different scale.

    Chicken processing plant? No chicken factories nearby.

    Sell off all the equipment and repurpose the plant to manufacture something else?

    Presently when I’ve driven past it I don’t think of White Oak I think White Elephant.

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