True West Beef, a partnership between Boise, Ida.-based Agri Beef Co. and leading cattle ranchers and feeders from around the West, recently announced its intent to build a state-of-the-art regional beef processing plant in Jerome, Ida.
“We evaluated many sites for this venture. With an educated and motivated workforce, access to plentiful agricultural resources and a vibrant community with a can-do spirit, Jerome and Idaho checked the box for everything we were looking for,” said Wade Small, Agri Beef executive vice president of business development.
True West Beef is designed as an alternative model in the beef processing segment, where large facilities and companies dominate the industry. The new plant will be smaller and flexible in scale and unique in structure, with livestock producers directly involved in equity ownership.
Located in the heart of Idaho’s Magic Valley, the processing facility is expected to create at least 370 new jobs and process approximately 500 head per day.
“COVID-19 presented challenges in the meat packing sector as plants struggled with capacity constraints due to the pandemic,” Idaho Gov. Brad Little said. “The United States needs more meat processors of all sizes, and Idaho is thrilled to welcome expanded and first-class processing capacity to address this critical infrastructure need. This plant adds tremendous value to our high-quality Idaho beef and supports family ranches, dairies and farms.”
Idaho director of commerce Tom Kealey added, “This is exactly the type of robust investment that can help us build on the strengths of Idaho’s already diverse economy. We greatly appreciate the confidence True West Beef is demonstrating in Idaho and the future.”
Celia Gould, director of the Idaho Department of Agriculture, said when including forage, grain and other allied industries in calculations, the livestock sector accounts for 75% of the Idaho agriculture industry’s gross receipts. An investment like this “ripples” through Idaho’s entire agriculture industry and to communities across the state, she added.
Agri Beef acquired and has operated the Washington Beef processing plant in Toppenish since 2003. As a company already focused on satisfying the growing consumer expectations for high-quality, healthy and sustainably raised beef, the Jerome plant will continue in this mission for Agri Beef and its partners.
“True West Beef will be a great neighbor, community involved and environmentally friendly. We want Jerome to be proud,” said Jay Theiler, Agri Beef executive vice president of strategy and public relations.