BRAWLEY – National Beef packing facility in Brawley closed its doors permanently Friday, May 23, 2014.
The Kansas based beef packing company will send most of its management staff back to facilities in the Midwest.
There is no information to date that can be verified that any other company will be taking over the newest beef packing plant built in the last 20 years.
Brawley Mayor Don Campbell said, “This is a day that we were not looking forward to. It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t get something worked out with National Beef. I hope they have reached out to other companies about this facility. I don’t know how a company that owns a facility that’s worth an estimated $60 million can just walk away from it. I can’t see them letting this happen.”
That’s exactly what they have done.
The official company statement is that there is not enough cattle in the area to make a profit.
Critics of National Beef cite the years of violations of their waste water treatment process as their reason for leaving.
The California Regional Water Quality Control Board has recently fined National Beef $3.75 million for these violations. A hearing is scheduled June 19 for an expected appeal.
Meanwhile, Imperial Valley cattle feeders are shipping their inventory to other states.
The impact on Brawley and the entire Imperial Valley is expected to be huge. The cattle industry in the Imperial Valley is a billion dollar business.
1,300 workers will be displaced by the closing of the plant.
Some workers, however, have a different take on the closing.
As he left the plant for the last time, Sergio Beltran, lab technician for National Beef, said, “I’m actually really happy. It’s sad, but it’s a good day. I would come back if it is reopened.”