State looks to sell meat plant

PALMER — The state is seeking out a new owner for the only federally approved slaughterhouse in southcentral Alaska, as funding for the facility could run out this year due to legislative budget cuts.

The state Board of Agriculture and Conservation has issued a request for proposals to lease and operate the state-funded Mt. McKinley Meat and Sausage Plant in Palmer. The proposed lease arrangement also includes an option to purchase the facility, The Alaska Public Radio Network reports.

Elizabeth Bluemink, spokeswoman for Alaska Department of Natural Resources, said there is $2.05 million in this year’s budget for the plant.

“DNR’s budget has mostly be settled, it still could be reopened. Currently, the status is that we have intent language that has been approved for the Mt. McKinley Meat and Sausage plant as well as a funding level that would carry us through the upcoming fiscal year,” Bluemink said.

Mt. McKinley is the only U.S. Department of Agriculture approved slaughterhouse in the area, and losing it could mean livestock producers in the area will not have a place to sell meat commercially.