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Stanko Plant to Reopen

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Brad S

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Kosher packing plant ready to open in Gordon


By JOSHUA R. RUSSO - Record Assistant Editor - [email protected]

Local Pride, LLC, an Iowa-based producer of kosher lamb, beef and bison products, is hiring and training staff for its renovated processing plant in Gordon. The plant will work with the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the City of Gordon to replace the void left by Premium Beef, which left town in 1996.

Fred Hlava, Gordon city manager, said the community is excited to see the plant. He said that the facility will provide a niche product and provide jobs for close to 100 people.

"We just feel this will be a tremendous benefit to the community and the area," Hlava said.

Hlava said that when Premium Beef closed its plant in 1996 it left a void. Local Pride will not only provide jobs at the plant, but other community businesses will sprout to accommodate the workers, he said.

The new plant owners shared his sentiment.

"We are excited to work with our local partners in Nebraska and South Dakota to make Local Pride a full part of the Gordon community," Sholom Rubashkin, whose family owns Local Pride, said in a press release. "For us, this effort represents the best of all worlds: The Gordon plant is a great business opportunity that will allow us to better serve our customers who rely on us for kosher meat products prepared according to the tenets of our faith. And in Gordon, we have found a place this business can call home, where we can be part of a great community and join with our neighbors in making it even greater."

The plant will be built on land designated as the Oglala Oyate Woitancan empowerment zone. Hlava said the Pine Ridge reservation area in South Dakota received the classification because it was identified as a low-employment, poverty area by the federal government.

The designation allows for some tax incentives for the city and employment opportunities for both the Oglala Sioux and local residents. The empowerment zone board expanded the zone in 1999 with USDA approval to include 300 acres where the plant is located in Gordon, 36 miles southeast of Pine Ridge, S.D. By being in the empowerment zone, Local Pride will be able to get a tax break for hiring tribal members.

The new operation may bring controversy as well as benefits.

According to a Rapid City Journal story by Steve Miller, there are allegations by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals that the agriprocessors' Postville plant uses cruel slaughtering methods that violate federal rules and strict kosher slaughtering standards.

PETA cited a video secretly made by an activist working undercover at the plant that showed workers using large knives to slice cows' throats, as required for kosher preparation. The video also shows some of the cows then stumbling around for as long as three minutes. PETA says the animals were still alive and suffering.

Plant officials say the animals' movements are involuntary and that massive blood loss to the brain brought on by slitting their throats renders them insensitive to pain within seconds.

Two rabbis are in the slaughtering plant at all times and a rabbi delivers the first, ritual slice, according to a plant spokesman quoted in a December 2004 story in the Waterloo (Iowa) Courier by staff writer Dan Haugen. The Courier also reported that USDA has launched an investigation into the PETA claims. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Patty Judge said after visiting the Postville plant last December that the animals killed there are treated humanely and die quickly, according to another Courier report.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency also filed a lawsuit accusing the Postville plant of exceeding limits set in wastewater discharge permits and failing to submit proper risk management plans or hazardous chemical inventory forms.
 

Bill

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The plant will be built on land designated as the Oglala Oyate Woitancan empowerment zone. Hlava said the Pine Ridge reservation area in South Dakota received the classification because it was identified as a low-employment, poverty area by the federal government.

The designation allows for some tax incentives for the city and employment opportunities for both the Oglala Sioux and local residents
Well lookie here OldTimer. US subsidies for packing plants as well :wink:
 

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