Jose A. Madrid and his daughter, Idali Madrid, listen to Chaves County commissioners discuss holding a public hearing March 16 regarding their proposed business, USA Beef Packing LLC. The company has been awarded $400,000 in state funds, but the county must hold the public hearing about whether it should enter into an agreement to accept the funds on behalf [auth] of the business. The Madrids plan to open the plant within two months. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)
Idali Madrid and Jose Madrid hang a business sign Thursday at their property on Cedarvale Road that they intend to open as a beef processing plant. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)
A proposed beef processing plant has received initial approval for opening east of Roswell, after the Chaves County Board of Commissioners voted Thursday morning to approve a rezoning application and to hold a public hearing to decide if the county should enter into an agreement to accept $400,000 in state money on behalf of the business.
“It looks like an opportunity for expansion and employment in our county, so we are happy that you are supporting us,” said Commissioner James Duffey to Jose A. Madrid, owner of USA Beef Packing LLC.
Madrid and his daughter, Idali Madrid, attended the meeting at the Chaves County Administrative Center where the five elected commissioners approved rezoning all of the 14-acre parcel at 3845 Cedardale Road from agricultural to industrial, which will allow the existing meat processing plant on the property to be expanded.
Formerly owned by Pecos Valley Meat, the facility was considered in 2013 by prior owners for a horse slaughtering facility, but that never happened because of opposition to the project from the state.
When USA Beef Packing opens, it will be the only beef slaughtering and processing plant in New Mexico, according to Madrid.
Commissioners also voted to hold a public hearing during their regular meeting March 16 about whether the county should act to accept the $400,000 in 2016 capital outlay funds through the New Mexico Economic Development District on behalf of USA Beef Packing.
Madrid, who said he has worked in the meat processing industry for 28 years, explained that he had purchased the land about three months ago and hopes to have the plant open in about 45 days.
“The location has been there about 20 years, and it is right there in the middle of the dairies,” Madrid said.
He described the business as a service to the dairy industry.
“These dairy cattle are having to be sent four to five hours away to be slaughtered,” he said, explaining that dairies must pay for that cost but also that the long hauls are difficult on the cattle.
Madrid said that he has not heard of any objections or opposition to his business plans, which include slaughtering 50 to 150 cattle a day within the first year and about 200 cattle a day after a plant expansion. He also said the plant is expected to employ 30 people at first and grow to 60 within a year. The beef processed and packed will be sold for human consumption, he said.
“It is an extremely important project because it directly supports the local dairy industry and will provide valuable new jobs to our community,” said John Mulcahy, president of the Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corp., which has been assisting the Madrids in their business plans for about a month.
In other actions at their regular monthly meeting, the county commissioners voted unanimously on several items.
• They agreed to lease building space at 1600 S.E. Main St., Suite E, to Elite Medical LLC for $15,900 a year.
• They approved three resolutions involving state funds for road improvements to ensure that previously executed agreements regarding financing will move forward.
• They voted for two special use permits allowing landowners to put additional residential units on their property.
• They voted to name three people, Dennis Kintigh, Tim Rafferty and Dorothy Hellums, to the County Board of Registration, which assists in maintaining eligible voter lists.
• They agreed to appoint three people, Kent Taylor, Tom Wadsworth and former commissioner Kyle “Smiley” Wooton, to serve as freeholders to decide a request to vacate a road.
• They re-appointed three members of the county Planning and Zoning Commission to additional two-year terms following the expiration of their terms. The continuing members are Jerry Wagner, Dale Rogers and Melodi Salas.
• They voted to approve a one-time budget adjustment; to authorize the distribution of a Chaves County DWI program grant of $72,500 to various program components; to adopt updated residential and commercial building and electrical codes; and to approve an out-of-state travel request.
Two presentations also occurred at the beginning of the meeting. Jim Rebanar, an auditor for the county, talked about the audit documents and results, which he indicated showed no problems with 2015-16 budgets and financial statements. James Masters of the New Mexico Department of Health discussed plans he and other committee members have to create the Hondo Spring Trail, a multi-use recreational trail that would run from Roswell to Bitter Lakes National Wildlife Refuge.
Staff writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.