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ARCHIVED  March 1, 1996

Monfort spends $25 mil. weekly on ag products

GREELEY — Most Coloradans associate the 65-year-old Monfort Inc. with giant cattle feedlots and the expansive factory that churns 24 hours a day in north Greeley.
Few lump the company with the next step in food production: European trained chefs in fine kitchens contemplating spices and side dishes. But the company has leapt in that direction.
In October, Monfort, owned by Con-Agra Inc. of Omaha, Neb., opened its new product-development facility next to the Monfort Portions plant at 2035 Second Ave. in Greeley.
Its purpose is to aid in marketing underused cuts of beef, pork and lamb by developing recipes for the company’s food-service-industry clients, including restaurant chains and institutions.
The $1.3 million facility includes a test kitchen equipped with microwaves, fryers, broilers, steamers and all the amenities necessary for elegant food preparation. It also has an extensive spice and recipe library as well as a meeting room with the capabilities for video conferencing via satellite.
“I think this is something that was needed and lacking in the red-meat industry for many years,´ said Fred Genth, executive chef of product development at Monfort Food Service. “R&D [research and development] is the foundation on which the future is being built. Now we have the capability of being able to come up with something for a customer before a customer knows he needs it.”In 65 years, Monfort has grown from a cattle feedlot to a full-service beef, pork, and lamb food producer. The company now operates five processing plants nationwide, owns its own by-product manufacturers and construction companies, and runs its own transportation company. Worldwide, Monfort employs more than 13,000 people.
Here’s a look at some of the economic contributions Monfort makes to Northern Colorado.
n In Weld County, Monfort employs approximately 4,000 people, with 2,300 of those working at the beef plant. Its Weld County payroll is close to $100 million a year.
n Annually, the company purchases $16 million worth of crops in Weld County for its three feedlots. Crops purchased include corn and alfalfa.
n Weekly, the company purchases $25 million worth of cattle in Weld County. Monfort’s own feedlots, located in Kuner, Gilcrest, and Yuma, provide only 15 percent of what the company processes each year.
n Almost 10 percent of all products exported out of Weld County to sites throughout the United States come from the Monfort meat-packing plant.
The city of Greeley and Weld County also benefit from having Monfort’s corporate headquarters in the area, with contributions to the arts, the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley and other causes.
Colorado State University in Fort Collins recently dedicated the Monfort Quadrangle as a tribute to the family’s long history of donations to that university. The quadrangle is bounded by four university buildings.
“Whenever you get a corporate headquarters, you get a lot of expertise is a lot of different areas,´ said Lyle Butler, president of the Greeley-Weld Chamber of Commerce. “When these people get involved in the community, you have a lot to draw from.”Ann Garrison, professor of economics at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, agrees that having Monfort’s corporate headquarters in Greeley is a big boost for the area’s business community.
“Once you get a corporate office located in an area, you tend to have a better chance of getting other corporate offices located in the same town,” Garrison said. “These people have expertise in dealing with problems, and they can help each other.”
While Monfort has no immediate plans to launch another new specialized venture, such as the product-development center, the company is likely to continue to grow.The area ripest for expansion is in international sales. This work would become the responsibility of Charlie Monfort, president of Monfort Refrigerated Foods International, and the only family member left in the company that bears the Monfort name.

GREELEY — Most Coloradans associate the 65-year-old Monfort Inc. with giant cattle feedlots and the expansive factory that churns 24 hours a day in north Greeley.
Few lump the company with the next step in food production: European trained chefs in fine kitchens contemplating spices and side dishes. But the company has leapt in that direction.
In October, Monfort, owned by Con-Agra Inc. of Omaha, Neb., opened its new product-development facility next to the Monfort Portions plant at 2035 Second Ave. in Greeley.
Its purpose is to aid in marketing underused cuts of beef, pork and lamb by developing recipes…

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