- Associated Press - Thursday, June 30, 2016

ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) - More than two years after bankruptcy proceedings started for the Northern Beef Packers plant in South Dakota, unsecured creditors have been given final notice to submit proof of their claims for payment.

Court documents show 738 creditors received notice that all claims must be filed by Sept. 12 with the federal Bankruptcy Clerk of Court’s Office in Pierre. There is about $743,000 available for claims distribution, the American News reported (http://bit.ly/294812T ).

Northern Beef operated a beef processing plant in Aberdeen from 2012 until July 2013, when the company laid off its employees and closed. Northern Beef had nearly $139 million in liabilities and just $79 million in assets when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The plant was sold at a bankruptcy sale in December 2013 to New Angus LLC. New Angus is owned by San Francisco-based investment firm White Oak Global Advisors, which paid about $44 million for the plant that is now packaging products under the brand name DemKota Ranch Beef.

The new ownership group re-opened the plant last year. It has no ties or obligations to the bankruptcy proceedings.

The 420,000-square-foot facility is capable of processing 1,500 head of cattle per day at full capacity. The plant has contracted with a number of cattle producers in the region.

The failed Northern Beef plant had homegrown roots. In 2006, Aberdeen livestock businessman Dennis Hellwig became its largest investor in response to a state initiative that hoped to get ranchers premium prices by allowing consumers to track animals from birth to slaughter. But local financing dried up, and the plant eventually became majority owned by foreign investors.

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Information from: Aberdeen American News, http://www.aberdeennews.com

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