Missouri Prime Beef Packers Will Close Pleasant Hope, Missouri, Plant

Feb. 27, 2024
The Missouri meatpacker is determined to reopen once it has resolved its wastewater treatment and discharge battle with the Dept. of Natural Resources.

Missouri Prime Beef Packers filed notice that it will shut down its meatpacking facility in Pleasant Hope, Mo., effective Apr. 26, 2024, the latest outcome in a months-long battle over the plant’s wastewater. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) notice, filed with the state of Missouri, states that the closure may be permanent or temporary, and cites unforeseeable business circumstances as the cause for the closure.

Last summer, Missouri Prime Beef Packers requested permission to discharge treated wastewater from its facility directly into the Pomme de Terre River, a watershed that had been considered “impaired” by government agencies in the past. Community members and environmental activists voiced their concerns in August and by November, word had leaked out that the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) was planning to deny the request.

At that point, Missouri Prime Beef Packers withdrew its application, but the MDNR went a step further and stated that the plant was not allowed to land apply the wastewater “until it receives a permit or through temporary enforceable operational parameters established through the department.”

According to an article from The Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, Missouri Prime Beef Packers could not produce proof that the technology it planned to use had been effective in wastewater treatment — required to implement new treatment technology in the state. Missouri Prime continued to pursue an operating permit for discharge and land application, and through that effort, it found that using approved technology would cost the plant a significantly higher capital expense than the new, unproven method.

Without these permits, the company had to either store the wastewater in its lagoons or use an external permitted wastewater disposal facility to treat. A company spokesperson told the News-Leader that it intends to still find a solution that meets MDNR approval, “determined to resume operations in the future.”

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.

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