WINDOM - Southwest Minnesota’s last remaining beef processing facility announced Monday that it is closing its doors.

PM Beef in Windom (PM Windom) reportedly broke the news during meetings with employees and owners Monday morning. The plant will cease operation on Dec. 11, and in a letter released to the Cottonwood County Citizen, it says the action is expected to be permanent.

PM Windom employs 262 workers, though its workforce has fluctuated greatly over the years based on market conditions. In a December 2004 Daily Globe story, the company reported a workforce of 550 people in their single-shift operation.

Calls to PM Windom went unanswered Monday afternoon.

Windom City Administrator Steve Nasby said he had a brief conversation with PM Windom’s Vice President of Operations Lisa Hernandez Monday morning, but “very little” information was made available. He also tried to reach the facility in the afternoon, but phone calls weren’t answered.

“We just heard through the grapevine - the company has not provided us many details,” Nasby said.

The announcement of the processing facility’s closure came as a surprise. Nasby said the company had not had any previous conversations with the city about the plant’s future.

Windom has been home to a beef processing facility for decades. Prior to PM Beef, the plant was operated by Caldwell Packing.

“We’ve tried to get into communication with the owner’s group and offer any assistance the city can,” Nasby said, adding that he’s already been in contact with the Department of Employment and Economic Development and Workforce Development regarding the employees who will be displaced by the closure.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

At the same time, Nasby said he’s concerned about the impacts to the city. PM Windom accounted for 39 percent of the city’s wastewater revenues and 23 percent of its sewer revenues in 2014.

As for property taxes, Nasby said PM Windom’s 2013 taxes were $92,000. However, the facility was under a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district, in which $80,000 of its taxes were rebated to the company.

In 2013, PM Windom accounted for approximately 4.6 percent of the city’s net tax capacity. Nasby said that tax capacity is lower today based on growth in the community’s business sector, but he didn’t have recent statistics available.

The economic impact of the closure is something Nasby wants to understand in the coming days as more information is released.

According to a business profile, PM Beef Holdings LLC was started in the 1990s by billionaire John Kluge, founder of holding company Metromedia, and James Ukrop of Ukrop’s Super Markets. The company touts itself as a leading processor and supplier of meat products to consumers, retailers and foodservice operators.

For the latest information on the PM closing, see http://www.dglobe.com/news/3860318-no-warning-pm-beef-employees-will-not...