Southcentral Alaska’s only federally-approved meat packing plant, Mt. McKinley Meat and Sausage in Palmer, is up for sale or lease.
The state Board of Agriculture and Conservation issued a request for proposals for bids on the plant in late October. The deadline for the bids was Monday of this week. Amanda Swanson, with the state division of agriculture, said two bids were received. Mike’s Quality Meats, Inc. of Palmer and Delta Junction-based Mt. McKinley Meat Co-op have expressed interest in acquiring the plant.
Amy Petit, executive director of Alaska Farmland Trust, said response to the RFP proposal is a hopeful sign for agriculture in the state.
“It’s a positive step, in my opinion, that there are two very different groups interested in seeing this move forward,” Petit said. “So for me, this is a good thing.”
The state has operated the plant since 1986 as an asset of the Agricultural Revolving Loan Fund. But dwindling state funds have prompted lawmakers to decide to privatize the slaughterhouse. Or shut it down. Shutting it would hurt fledgling livestock businesses in the Matanuska Valley, Copper Basin and the Kenai, Petit said. Livestock producers cannot commercially sell meat unless it has the USDA stamp from an approved slaughterhouse.
During the RFP process, preference will be given to bidders who plan to continue slaughter and processing operations at the property.
The state Board of Agriculture and Conservation meets Thursday in Palmer to discuss the next step in the process.