Cargill Exits Cattle Feeding, Sells Two Yards

Cargill will no longer feed their own cattle after selling two feedlots in Kansas and Colorado to Green Plains Inc.

Green Plains Cattle Company purchased the feedlots from Cargill for $36.7 million, excluding working capital. The transaction is still pending a definitive agreement and regulatory review.

As part of the deal, a multiyear agreement was reached by Green Plains and Cargill Meat Solutions for cattle to continue being supplied to Cargill’s packing plants. Cattle from Green Plains’ existing Kismet, Kan. feedlot will also be marketed to Cargill.

The former Cargill Leoti, Kan., and Yuma, Colo., feedlots were feeding approximately 155,000 cattle at the time of the sale.

“Selling our two remaining feed yards aligns with our protein growth focus by allowing us to redeploy working capital away from cattle feeding operations to other investments,” says John Keating, president of Cargill’s Wichita-based protein business operations and supply chain. “By partnering with Green Plains in a multiyear supply agreement, the Yuma and Leoti yards will continue to supply cattle to our beef processing facilities at Fort Morgan, Colo., and Dodge City, Kan., ensuring consistent high-quality beef products for our customers.”

Green Plains has been feeding cattle since 1969. Currently the company owns a 70,000 head feedlot in Kismet, Kan., and 30,000 head feedlot in Hereford, Texas. With the purchase of Cargill’s feedlots, Green Plains Cattle Company will become the fourth largest cattle feeder in the U.S. with a total capacity of more than 255,000 head. In addition, Green Plains Inc. is based out of Omaha, Neb. and has 17 ethanol plants across the U.S.

“The growth of Green Plains Cattle achieves one of our strategic initiatives of further diversifying our income streams and investing in adjacent businesses. This purchase also aligns with our overall strategy to meet growing global protein demand in downstream markets that take advantage of our supply chain, production platform and commodity management expertise,” says Todd Becker, president and chief executive officer of Green Plains.

In an effort to restructure working capital throughout the company’s protein division, Cargill has sold all of their feedlots in the past year. Last July, Cargill’s two Texas feedlots were purchased by Friona Industries. The moves helped free up money for approximately $560 million in acquisitions and capital investments by Cargill’s North American protein division during the past two years.

Prior to the feedlot sales, Cargill had a capacity of 293,000 head at four feedlots and was the fourth largest cattle feeder in the country according to CattleFax data from 2015.

Friona Industries has 6 feedlots in Texas feeding approximately 450,000 head, making it the third largest cattle feeder in the country. Similar to the agreement with Green Plains, Cargill’s packing plants are being supplied by Friona Industries.