Cargill looks to increase involvement in community

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

Cargill Meat Solutions representatives gave city and county officials a tour of the 4,500-cattle-a-day meat processing plant located in Friona on Thursday.

Human Resources Manager Margaret Renteria said the company would like more involvement in eastern New Mexico communities since almost a quarter of the plant’s 2,000 employees live in Clovis, Texico and Portales.

About $10 million in payroll goes to Clovis, she said.

During a formal presentation about the plant, Renteria asked city officials about starting a bus service from Clovis to the plant.

Renteria said since gas prices have increased, the plant is trying to help its employees save money on fuel.

Plant employees living in Hereford pay about $13.75 a week to commute to the plant, she said.

The plant has a turnover rate of 50 percent and between 5 to 10 percent of that is tied to travel, she said, especially in the last six months.

The group of city, county and chamber of commerce representatives were given a tour of the meat processing and shipping areas of the 725,000 square-foot plant.

The plant utilizes cattle raised in a Cargill feedlot in Bovina, Renteria said. The plant packs about 30,000 cases of beef a day.

Cargill is the second largest beef processor in North America. Renteria said the plant processes every part of a cattle that can be used.

City Commissioner Chris Bryant said after the tour that he wasn’t sure what the city could do to provide a transportation service, however, it was something the commission could look into.

“That would be a great service to provide. I just don’t quite know at this point how to help (the company) out and how to maybe get that done,” he said. “Maybe not (through) the city but maybe a bus firm, something like that.”

Bryant, who owns the Foxy Drive Inn, said he thought the tour was enlightening. He said a portion of his ground beef comes from the plant.

“It really enlightened you to understanding how all that takes place and how it’s done and how hard people worked to get that where it goes,” Bryant said.