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Associated Press, Published October 26 2010

Fargo-based beef company says it won’t lay off workers

Fargo-based North Dakota Natural Beef LLC has cut back hours after losing a large customer but is not laying off workers, a company official said.

President and CEO Dieter Pape told Agweek that he expects to soon replace the customer, which he did not name. He also said the company is financially strong enough to pay the four cattle producers who had late payments, starting in mid-September.

State Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring recently alerted ranchers about a federal Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration public meeting on Wednesday in Fargo. The meeting is to inform ranchers who have done business with North Dakota Natural Beef about their rights, he said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration regulates beef sales and requires payment within 48 hours of delivery, Pape said.

The beef company is owned by 35 people and businesses in the Dakotas, including the North Dakota Farmers Union and the North American Bison Cooperative.

North Dakota Natural Beef voluntarily stopped buying cattle for slaughter at its New Rockford plant on Oct. 11 because of financial woes, Goehring said.

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