Prairie Packing of Williston is undergoing purchase by Yellowstone River Beef of Oregon, and will soon begin the export of beef to international markets.

Williston is diving into the international beef export market, but will still provide services to the local community and surrounding areas.

As reported by the Williston Herald on Thursday, Aug. 15, Oregon-based Yellowstone River Beef is working towards purchasing Prairie Packing and upgrading it into a facility for the international export of beef to Asian markets. At The Tuesday, Aug. 13, meeting of the Williston City Commission, the commissioners voted to approve up to $72,000 for a Flex PACE buydown grant from the city’s STAR Fund.

The buydown program helps lower the interest on the company’s commercial loan, and includes a 2-to-1 matching grant from the Bank of North Dakota.

The company is owned and operated by Trevor Abell, Jamie Aqidius and Brandon Forseth, who are purchasing the plant to convert it into an export-focused operation, while still providing local custom processing, as well as a retail store front on site. The plant will be one of the only USDA-inspected processing plants in the region.

“We have established a network of local cattle ranchers who are excited to have their cattle processed locally and distributed to worldwide markets,” Abell said in a release. “This allows Yellowstone River Beef to have a traceable product and control the process from calf to final cut. This ensures the highest quality standards in each phase of processing.”

City and business development leaders said they are excited about what the processing plant means for the area, and believe it will provide many benefits to the region.

“I think it’s a really good project because it’s the first big ag project we have had in a while,” said Keith Olson, regional director of the Small Business Development Center.

“This project not only adds a layer to our local economy,” Williston Mayor Howard Klug said, “It exposes our local products to a world-wide market.”

The company’s owners are working with the city, the STAR Fund and the Small Business Development Center to continue moving the project forward, and Abell said he and the rest of the company are excited to be in Williston and look forward to working and growing within the community.

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