Efforts fail to keep National Beef plant open

Efforts to keep the National Beef processing plant open in Brawley, Cal., have failed.

Despite efforts of community leaders, local cattlemen and state representatives, National Beef moved ahead with its intention on Friday to close of its Brawley, Cal., processing plant on April 4.

On Friday, local cattle feeders announced they had offered in excess of $9 million in additional cattle price discounts for years 2014 and 2015. The discount was in addition to the $15 million of discounts previously given National Beef on Jan. 1, 2013.

"National lost a stable supply of cattle from Arizona and some IVCF members had plans to increase their supplies but those plans are now on hold. Imperial Valley cattle numbers are at 25-30 year highs. Valley feeders understand National's need for more cattle and are ready to accommodate those needs to the best of their abilities," said Bill Brandenberg of the Imperial Valley Cattle Feeders (IVCF) Group.  

The feeders said they appreciated all of the extraordinary efforts made by Imperial County, City of Brawley, Imperial Irrigation District, Senator Ben Hueso, Assemblyman Manuel Perez, the Governor's office, the Regional Water Quality Board and other stakeholders who have worked with National Beef to keep its plant open.

 "We owe it to the Imperial Valley community, the plant's 1,300 employees, and our own feed yard employees to continue looking at all options," Brandenberg said.

For National Beef, the decision was said to be based on the available supply of cattle but also on an unwillingness to spend some $13 million necessary to comply with federal and state water standards.

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