Roswell fills a decades-long void, finally giving local cattle ranchers and dairy producers a nearby processing market for their beef and consumers access to the locally raised protein for their dinner plates.
USA Beef opened its 12,000-square-foot facility in Chaves County in fall 2017. Within the first year, the business harvested, processed and packaged about 60 head of cattle per day and employed 28 people. The company intends to double both its meatpacking capacity and its employment when the $5.4 million renovation project and expansion is finished in 2025, says owner Joe Madrid, who runs the business with daughter, Idali Madrid.
USA Beef is the only USDA- certified meatpacking plant in New Mexico, he says. It is strategically located in the cattle-producing region of southeast New Mexico, where the Roswell-Chaves County Economic Development Corporation has provided support to the business.
“As a state, we have an awful lot of beef and milk cows,” says John Mulcahy, president of the economic development organization. “We really need this industry here in the state, as well as southeast New Mexico, where we have a large livestock auction.
“Joe is an owner-operator. This is his life, his business and his family’s business. It’s an entrepreneurship startup in a part of the state that really needs it.”
USA Beef Meets Need
Before USA Beef came to Roswell, local ranchers and dairy producers drove a minimum of four hours to slaughter their cattle, Madrid says.
A second-generation meat processor, Madrid worked in the meat-processing industry for 28 years. He intentionally opened the business in Roswell, a cattle-producing region where he identified a great need for the service. Today, his family sells wholesale beef products to distributors and custom slaughters for local customers who want meat for themselves or to sell to others.
“The benefit is that the beef stays local and the jobs stay local,” Madrid says. “We’re bringing a new industry into the local market that hasn’t been here for many years. I’ve been finding out that even some of the feedlots are starting to grow because of us opening.”
USA Beef Finds Niche
Within just a year of operation, USA Beef expanded into bison meat and has locked in a sizable 2019 contract for bison processing. Mulcahy says this niche market exhibits the nimbleness of USA Beef, which can provide a competitive meat product while carrying the flexibility to meet market demands that large competitors cannot.
Meanwhile, USA Beef pushes to promote New Mexico beef domestically and internationally with the launch of a new beef branding program by 2019. Called New Mexico’s Best, the marketing effort intends to promote New Mexico-raised beef across New Mexico, the United States and the globe.