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SD Beef Plant Courts Laid-Off Workers

Thu, 05/16/2013 - 9:40am

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — A beef processing plant in the South Dakota city of Yankton is recruiting dozens of workers laid off from their jobs at the Northern Beef Packers plant.

Representatives from the Cimpl's beef plant in Yankton conducted job interviews in Aberdeen on Tuesday and had more scheduled Wednesday, the American News reported.

Cimpl's is owned by Wisconsin-based American Foods Group, one of the larger beef processors in the nation. Jobs are available at Cimpl's and at other American Foods Group plants in the Midwest, spokeswoman Ellen Paulson said.

The Aberdeen plant announced late last month that it was laying off 108 of its 420 employees until it can raise more money for operations — a move the fledgling plant called an "unfortunate setback."

The Northern Beef plant has been processing about 200 cattle a day from the Dakotas, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota and has put a planned ramp up to 1,500 cattle daily on hold. It is trying to raise about $20 million to go with the $150 million that enabled the plant to start operating last fall after years of delays ranging from financial problems to lawsuits to flooding.

"We are here with opportunities for folks laid off in Aberdeen," Paulson said. "We are trying to find a win-win situation, where those who are qualified for work can be matched with positions we have.

"People with those skills are in demand. They are very critical positions."

Northern Beef has said it hopes to call back laid-off workers by late July. Company officials declined comment on the recruiting by Cimpl's.

Northern Beef is familiar with worker recruiting trips, however. Plant officials made a recruiting trip to Plainview, Texas, in late January after a Cargill beef processing plant there closed. That trip did not net any workers, though, plant officials said in February.

The Aberdeen office of the state Department of Labor and Regulation was providing space for the Cimpl's job interviews.

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