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Beef packing business plans to be revealed today

Activity was occurring Tuesday at the Cedarvale Avenue site of the proposed USA Beef Packing LLC business. The Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corp. has invited dairies, other business leaders and government officials to a community meeting today to discuss the planned operations of the business and its impact on the area. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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The business plans for a new beef processing company, including hiring and training goals, are expected to be discussed today in a community meeting.
USA Beef Packing LLC has received up to $400,000 in state funding to start a beef slaughter and processing business, and the Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corp., which helped negotiate the deal, has applied for a $40,000 grant for training funds, not only for the USA Beef Packing, but also for other agricultural-related businesses.
“They are making a presentation about the business and their business plans,” said John Mulcahy, president of the economic development group, “and I will make a presentation about why this business is needed in terms of economic development for the area.”
Mulcahy said that he has invited stakeholders, such as representatives from area dairies, to the meeting. Area legislators were also asked, but will likely all be in Santa Fe for the Legislature’s special session, which starts today as well.
The 120 people who had written complaints about prior plans two years ago to use the same property on 3845 Cedarvale Ave. for a horse slaughtering operation have also been notified, Mulcahy said.
“We’ve had no complaints about the current business as far as I am aware,” he said.
The horse slaughter operation never opened after many complaints, protests and lawsuits resulted in the legal ban in 2016 of commercial horse slaughters in the state.
A staff member with the New Mexico Environment Department Groundwater Quality Bureau also is expected to address the draft permit for the operation. That permit could become permanent in about a month.
Mulcahy added that his agency has applied for a $40,000 training grant with the U.S. Department of Agricultural Rural Development Department to help Beef Packing LLC and other agricultural businesses in the area train their workforce.
The state funding received by USA Beef Packing is administered by Chaves County but comes through the New Mexico Economic Development Department and involves state Local Economic Development Act funds.
USA Beef Packing can receive up to $400,000 to upgrade, improve or expand the 130,000-square-foot existing meat packing plant. The amount of funding is contingent on meeting certain requirements, such as employing 57 people and making at least $5 million in capital investments in the business by March 2021.
The bulk of the jobs, 35 of them, are expected by a draft of the state agreement with the company to pay annual wages of $24,960, with another 16 jobs to have average pay of $31,200. A small number, about six positions, would average more than $40,000 a year. The jobs would have to be available for 48 consecutive weeks during a five-year period, the draft agreement stated.
The owner of the business is Jose Madrid, who has said that he has worked in beef processing plants for 28 years and comes from El Paso. The draft of the agreement said that the business would begin operations no later than the end of September.
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.