Greetings, My Fellow Missourians
Friday evening, Marla and I attended the 1st Annual El Dorado Springs Chamber Picnic in the Park event. I spoke to the Chamber and complimented them on their many achievements. At 8 pm the El Dorado Springs Municipal Band started playing and I presented them a Resolution. The El Dorado Springs Municipal Band is celebrating its One Hundred Thirty-fifth Anniversary this year. They are the longest continuously performing municipal band in the state of Missouri, and one of the oldest municipal bands in the United States west of the Mississippi River. Their concerts began in 1885, and in 1887 the Band played for the first time in the newly built bandstand in Spring Park.
In early June, Missourinet News published an article that quoted me saying “Missouri needs a cow processing plant.” I went on to say, “If you draw a 100-mile circle around Joplin, MO you’re going to find a lot of cows and I believe we can justify a processing plant big enough to compete with the big packers.”
About a week later, I received an email from an outfit called Republic Foods. The partnership owners of Republic Foods are an unlikely duo of a Texan, Jeremy Robinson and a New Yorker, David DeVito. The two of them, along with others on the leadership team, a Corporate Finance Officer, Director of Food Safety, VP of Operations and VP of Engineering have a combined total of 135 years of meat processing and food distribution experience.
After several phone calls with David DeVito, I found out they had purchased the newest modern beef processing plant recently built in the United States, located in Lone Jack, MO. I contacted my fellow Legislators on our Ag Committee, the MO Dept. of Ag and several state leaders in the Missouri Cattleman’s Association, Pork Producers and Farm Bureau. We held a meeting and toured the facilities on Monday.
The plant started operation in March and because of the COVID-19 virus pandemic, they had an opportunity to supply Price Chopper Stores with hamburger. Currently 175 employees are harvesting about 250 head of beef cows per day. Approximately 75% of the cows are purchased in Missouri. Republic foods would like to quadruple production by the end of the year. By installing grinders and increasing cooler space, they could process up to 1,000 head per day. They would like to promote and sell a branded product like “Missouri Beef”. Jeremey Robinson said, “We want to keep beef on local shelves and source the beef from as many Missouri farmers and ranchers as possible.”
It is possible that the new packing plant could receive some of the $20 million appropriated by the Missouri Legislature for meat processing assistance in response to COVID-19. There is also a meat packing plant in Pleasant Hope of similar size that may re-open and be processing cow beef by the end of this year. One thing I firmly believe is that Missouri is an ideal location for beef processing. Hopefully we will Get-Er-Done.
INTERIM HOURS: Now that Session is over for 2020, I will be back in District full time. If you need any assistance my Legislative Assistant Amy Helton will be happy to help you Monday-Thursday.