Empirical family of companies recently announced that it will soon begin the construction of a new ground beef facility in Garden City, Kan. The new facility will supplement existing production at its South Sioux City, Neb., location and represents the largest single investment in the company’s 40-year history.
“Demand for empirical’s lean ground beef requires us to significantly increase our processing capacity to meet the growing needs of our customers,” said Craig Letch, president of empirical foods. “This presents an exciting opportunity for the future of our company and the communities that we call home.”
When fully operational, the Garden City facility will more than double empirical’s current ground beef capacity and employ about 300 people in the Garden City region. Given the technologically advanced nature of its ground beef operations, the company said there will be a greater need for skilled staff, which will entail on-the-job training at the state-of-the-art facility.
“We took a long time evaluating the right location to be home for our new facility and could not find a better, more welcoming community than Garden City,” said Nick Roth, president of empirical technology, another of the empirical companies that will be involved in the construction and management of its operations. “The state of Kansas -- and Garden City, in particular -- have always been great partners to the beef industry and companies like ours that have been valued members of the community for years. As we look to take this next step in the growth of our ground beef business, we can’t imagine a better place -- or better people -- to be part of the next chapter in the empirical story.”
The company expects to break ground on the new operation sometime in the first quarter of 2020 and to have the plant fully operational in the 2022-23 time frame.
Jennifer Letch, head of administrative support for the companies, indicated that a formal groundbreaking ceremony and celebration with the community would be held early next year.
“We want to plan an event that gives us the right opportunity to bring everyone in Garden City up to speed on all of the exciting developments here at empirical,” Letch said. “Garden City has so many wonderful things to offer anyone lucky enough to live or work there, and we are thankful to have this chance to expand our relationship with the entire community.”
Headquartered in Dakota Dunes, S.D., the empirical companies are leaders in lean ground beef processing, using highly automated and technologically advanced systems of their own design and construction. Operating as a family-owned group of companies for almost 40 years, empirical has developed unique and revolutionary technology for the meat industry focused on automation, efficiency, sustainability and food safety.