LimeSprings Beef: Up go the walls

The receiving and rendering areas are under construction.

The receiving and rendering areas are under construction.

The walls are going up on the innovative processing plant called LimeSprings Beef.

In an effort to keep readers apprised of the progress of this important local business, Lime Springs Herald will be writing periodic product updates through a business spotlight series.

It has taken two years, but the LimeSprings Beef team has brought the vision of a locally-owned and operated beef processing facility to life. Given the strong commitment to keeping sustainable business in the community, this project has been positively perceived as a benefit for the region, the producers, the local investors, the environment, and yes, even the cattle.

The funding for the LimeSprings Beef plant has come from a variety of sources, including state grants, USDA low-interest loans, and local investors. In fact, local producers hold a significant ownership in LimeSprings Beef. Even Howard-Winneshiek FFA Club members have invested in this venture which they see as a model for the future of meat processing.

LSB will offer commodity, naturally raised, and grass-fed beef to the regional marketplace. All of the beef will be supplied from producers within 100 miles of the plant. Because of this short-haul strategy, during which the cattle travel less than 100 miles to slaughter, producers have the potential to save thousands of dollars on freight costs, and the animals will retain weight and meat quality garnering a higher price per pound.

“Not only has LimeSprings Beef committed to supplying our processing plant locally, it’s also committed to selling to retailers and upscale restaurants within 200 miles,” states Jesse Stevens, founder and president of the board. “This will reduce the carbon footprint of shipping and minimize excess costs for our company.”

The LimeSprings Beef facility is employing sustainable technologies that keep resources and environmental benefits within the community. Take the facility’s wastewater treatment system for instance. Jon Kallen, a partner with Energy Independence Partners, LLC, and its water division reports that, “LimeSprings Beef has gone above and beyond for exceptional water treatment and should be commended for their long term sustainability vision and the alleviation of environmental impacts.”

Traceability of food is a growing concern for consumers around the world. People want to be able to access information about where their food comes from and, now that more than half of all cell phone users in the U.S. have smart phones, people are satisfying that curiosity by using their phones in the grocery store to research their purchases. LSB plans to put a bar code on their packaging that will link to information about the product and the producing farmer.

However, on the forefront of every consumer’s mind, first and foremost, is the freshness and quality of the product they are purchasing. The Lime Springs plant’s proprietary tracking system, which will monitor the growth, health history, and planned slaughter date of each animal in the system, offers myriad advantages to consumers, retailers and producing farmers alike. Chief among them: the plant and its retailers are able to foresee animal growth and plan for a continuous, fresh product inventory. Consumers can be confident in the source, treatment, and freshness of their meat.

Michael Spinks, the newly hired general manager of the company, shares, “One of the most exciting things about LimeSprings Beef is that it will create a sustainable, local economic opportunity in the region that will endure for the next generation – and beyond. We intend to provide jobs that pay higher than the industry standard and plan to offer a superior working environment that is safer and more respectful of its employees than typical of the industry.”

By creating local jobs in the Lime Springs area and sourcing from local producers, LSB is creating a new business that will sustain itself over time and bolster the regional economy. For more information, visit http://www.limespringsbeef.com.

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