Double J Meat Packing is purchasing the old Ranchers’ Lamb of Texas plant to offset the loss of the Mountain States Rosen plant that was recently purchased by JBS USA after it filed bankruptcy.
The American Sheep Industry Assn. (ASI) said the industry will get a “needed shot in the arm” this fall when the Texas plant, to be known officially as Double J Lamb Inc. of Texas, comes back online.
“It hasn’t been used in quite a few years, so there’s a lot of work to do,” said Jeff Hasbrouck, whose family runs both Double J Meat Packing and Double J Lamb Feeders in Colorado. The plant closed to lamb processing in February 2005.
He added, “We’ll be able to fabricate there, which is one of the main reasons we reached out about buying this plant. With the loss of Mountain States Rosen, we felt like we had to do something for the industry.”
Mountain States Rosen entered into bankruptcy protection early this year, leading to the auction of company’s lamb processing plant in Greeley, Colo. After placing the winning bid, JBS took over the plant but announced the plant would become a beef processing facility.
ASI said that while the new Colorado Lamb Processors plant in Brush, Colo., is set to come online in September, it will only be able to harvest lambs as it lacks fabricating facilities.
Hasbrouck, who has been in San Angelo with his father, Jay, in recent weeks overseeing the purchase of the lamb plant, told ASI they hope to have the plant up and running in two months.
“We’ll have to ramp up, so we’ll probably just be harvesting lambs at first, but will start fabricating soon after that. We knew we didn’t have a lot of time to get this done, so we couldn’t sit back and wait for it to happen.”
Hasbrouck further relayed that their company feeds lambs for a lot of the members of the Mountain States Co-Op, which owned Mountain States Rosen, “so we knew how concerned they are about where they are going to get their lambs processed this year.”
The Ranchers’ Lamb plant was built with a capacity of 1,700 to 1,800 head a day. While Hasbrouck was familiar with the plant, he said he never personally sent sheep to the facility as it was built specifically to process Texas sheep.
“This is a bold, innovative step that the Hasbrouck family is taking in looking for a new way to support the American sheep industry,” said ASI executive director Peter Orwick. “I think the entire industry will applaud their efforts and wish them the best of luck in this new endeavor.”