A proposed $450 million beef processing plant in southwestern Iowa got a big boost with the announcement the federal government will kick in $25 million to help get the project constructed.

Cattlemen's Heritage anticipates slaughtering 500,000 cattle annually, bringing a new buyer to compete for cattle within about 200 miles of the plant, mostly from Iowa and Nebraska.

Chad Tentinger, who heads the Cattlemen's Heritage development group, said Thursday that he and others are working to create a producer cooperative, called Legacy Beef, that will own 20% of the company. That will give producers a piece of the profits along with better prices for their cattle.

The company also wants to feature co-op members in marketing their beef, with a goal of bringing producers and consumers closer together. "We will bring their stories front and center," Tentinger said.

"This grant will absolutely benefit the small family farmer," he said.

Source: Des Moines Register