LancasterOnline Reports: 

The world’s largest meat processor is opening a 12,000-square-foot cattle-buying station in Denver, Pennsylvania today.

JBS USA is leasing space at 503 School Road, where Goods Livestock buys hogs and operates a livestock truck wash.

“This opens up the door to smaller and medium-size operations to work directly with the plant,” said Curtis McFadden, the main buyer for JBS.

Previously, working directly with the packer was an option only for larger farms that could send the packer a full semitrailer load of cattle at a time.

In Lancaster County, though, the average herd size is 60 to 75 animals, and there are many dairy farms, which produce only a few slaughter cattle at a time, McFadden said.

“Most people are smaller to middle-sized here,” he said.

McFadden said he believes the facility is one of the first packer-run buying stations in the region, though JBS has opened other buying stations near its processors in the Midwest.

The buying station will take finished Holstein and beef steers, bulls and cull cows.

JBS will buy baby calves through Good’s Cattle Co., which is owned by relatives of Kurt Good but is a separate company from Goods Livestock.

In short, JBS will take any packer-ready cattle — dairy or beef, McFadden said.

The cattle will head to the JBS plant in Souderton, Montgomery County. The former Mopac processing plant is the largest east of Chicago.


The renovations for the JBS buying station include several types of unloading ramps

The buying station has been in the works for seven or eight months.

Most of that time went to looking for a site and working out an arrangement with the Goods. Construction took about two months, McFadden said.

Kurt Good, who runs Goods Livestock, said that when JBS approached him, “it seemed to make sense.”

His farm is near major highways and in reasonable proximity to the JBS plant.

JBS also liked having a truck wash at the site, as many of the livestock haulers they will work with are local, independent truckers, McFadden said.

The sizable square footage of the buying station seems like a clear indication that JBS wants to work with the smaller producers, Good said.

The project will create three jobs.

Good’s great-grandfather built the farm at the beginning of the 1900s, and the family has been in the livestock business for more than 80 years, Good said.

While most of the business is likely to come from Lancaster and adjacent counties, “we’re open for anyone,” McFadden said.


Kurt Good of Goods Livestock, Curtis McFadden of JBS USA and Justin Good of Good’s Cattle Co. stand at the soon-to-be-completed JBS buying station.

The buying station is housed in a red barn the Good family previously used as a feedlot.

JBS reconfigured the unloading area to include a high dock, two gooseneck docks and a jump-off dock to accommodate farmers who like to unload cattle different ways.

The cattle will proceed to the scale and then to several pens that JBS has laid out. “It’s pretty simple,” McFadden said.

JBS was able to use much of the original concrete but poured new surfaces in the unloading area and around the posts for the new pens. The building got a new office too, he said.

The company is not disclosing the cost of the renovations, he said.

Farmers have the option to sell their animals based on live weight and take their check home that day, or JBS can mail them a check based on yield (hanging weight) and the carcass grade, McFadden said.

Selling directly to the packer also means there is no commission to pay, he said.

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