County Explores Mobile Meat Processing Unit

Prowers County Courthouse

A full service Mobile Meat Processing Plant would cost in the neighborhood of $750,000 according to Bruce Fickenscher, CSU livestock representative for the southeast Colorado region.  He was accompanied by Wilma Trujillo, CSU Extension Agronomist when they met with the Prowers County Commissioners February 9 to discuss the cost and aspects of operating such a facility in the county.

Now that the closest meat processing facilities are in Fowler, Leoti or Lakin, having one that can travel around the county and provide almost doorstep services seems attractive.  But Lamar seems to be off the radar as a site, and the commissioners offered an alternative to the Rocky Mountain Farmer’s Union, when that organization requested a letter of support from Prowers County, for the La Mesa Grande Natural Meat Processing Facility.  The commissioner’s response read, “We respectfully point out that Otero County already has a meat processing facility located in Fowler.  We strongly encourage you to look at Kiowa, Bent, Baca and Prowers County for potential sites to locate such a facility.”

No specific grants were discussed to fund such a project, and there’s no indication of private capital to start such a venture.  Fickenscher said the operation could be streamlined to kill and process the beef, but another segment to consider is cutting, wrapping and storage for a host of customers.  Each segment would run about $350,000 he estimated, and would employ between three to seven persons, given the scope of the operation.  Some zoning restrictions need to be considered regarding disposal of offal and quality of water.  Regulations dictate water quality levels if the beef would be rated by the USDA or for custom processing.

Changes have been made in the Medicaid Transportation reimbursement policy that requires a patient to be seen by the nearest medical provider in their county.  Medicaid patients will still have the option of visiting a physician of their choice, but their mileage reimbursement will be curtailed.  The county commissioners discussed the changes with Jeanna Langston, Department of Social Services Adult Assistance Programs Manager and Mindy Maestas, Business Office Supervisor.  Patients will need to submit a “Closest Provider” form which lists the out-of-county provider being visited as well as the reason for the out of county trip before the travel voucher will be accepted.  The change will serve several purposes, reduce the cost and frequency of Medicaid trips and help promote use of local medical providers when those services are available in the county.  Clients have the right of appeal for their travel needs to a distant provider, but must submit necessary forms to start the appeal process.  The commissioners also suggested a letter of explanation be sent to all local Medicaid providers regarding the changes on the voucher procedure.

In other action, the commissioners approved the annual rental agreement for the county fairgrounds for the Southeast Colorado Shrine Club Circus on May 28, 2012, as well as for the Lamar Community College, three day rodeo held October 5-7.  The rental agreement for the fairgrounds for the Sand and Sage Demolition Derby on June 16 was also approved.

by Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: AgricultureBusinessCommissionerscommunityCountyEconomyEmploymentFeaturedHealthTransportation


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