On March 19, the Mountain States-Rosen lamb co-op was pushed to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to Covid-19. This week, local efforts are being made by the sheep industry across the west to try to stop a bankrupt acquisition of the co-op’s processing plant in Greeley, CO, believing it would irreversibly harm the competition in the domestic lamb market.
“By mid-March we were of course preparing for the Easter and Passover season. It is one of the busiest seasons for the lamb industry in the United States and therefore losing service. food at that time was absolutely devastating and bankrupted what is our second largest packaging plant here in the United States. “
On Friday this week, JBS USA, owned by Brazilian JBS SA, will close its acquisition of the Greely plant after submitting a winning bid in bankruptcy proceedings. JBS is the largest importer of lamb in the United States. It appears that JBS is preparing to shut down all lamb processing at the site altogether. If that happens, it will immediately affect sheep farmers in at least 15 western states, adding even more to the already consolidated lamb processing industry.
“We have basically three main plants here in the United States that make up the overwhelming majority and of those three, Superior Farms and Rosen Plant of Mountain State. They make up the vast majority. So that’s a big concern. when you lose, anytime. You lose your number two packer. This is a huge concern. As I discussed this analogy to the Holcomb factory fire that we have seen in the beef industry! last year, you know losing so much capacity, even an industry as big as the beef industry was hit hard, so we know losing that much capacity in the lamb industry. That’s 15-20% of our packing capacity in the United States. This is going to be a huge blow to our farming and ranching families. “
A new entity attempted to purchase the facility in bankruptcy to continue processing lamb, but missed the $ 200,000 offer. Time is running out, elected officials are asking the Ministry of Justice to intervene and protect competition.
“You know, a big hat to Senator Mike Lee of Utah really took the bull by the horns here and led an effort to ask the Department of Justice to investigate the competitiveness of the sheep industry and take a look at how this sale will affect the industry on the competitiveness of the industry. “
The bicameral letter was signed by 12 lawmakers, including Senator Daines and Congressman Gianforte from Montana.
“Thanks to the efforts of those people who are asking for this investigation. I think this will go a long way in ensuring that the industry remains competitive. So we hope the Department of Justice will take this under advisement and take some action before the lamb plan.” “
If lamb processing is shut down at the Greeley plant, industry experts estimate at least $ 150-200 million in losses for the lamb industry this year alone.
When it comes to farming events, the Montana Young Ag Leadership Conference host organizations and committee regret to announce the cancellation of YALC 2020. Due to COVID-19 and our state’s Phase 2 restrictions, they felt it was better to cancel the event. It was to take place in October in Great Falls. There will soon be announcements for YALC 2020 online activities on their Facebook page. This is the news of today’s farm and ranch.