New ground beef facility to open in Kansas

A new ground beef processing facility will be built on Kansas soil in 2020.

Amanda Radke

December 27, 2019

3 Min Read

Just before Christmas, empirical foods, inc., announced its plans to build a new ground beef facility in Garden City, Kan. This new facility will support existing production at its location in South Sioux City, Neb.

“Demand for empirical’s lean ground beef requires us to significantly increase our processing capacity to meet the growing needs of our customers,” said Craig Letch, president of empirical. “This presents an exciting opportunity for the future of our company and the communities that we call home.”

With plans to break ground in early 2020, construction is anticipated to take between two and three years.

According to an empirical press release, “When fully operational, the Garden City facility will more than double empirical’s current ground beef capacity and employ about 300 employees in the Garden City region. Given the technologically-advanced nature of the empirical ground beef operations, there will be a greater need for skilled staff which will entail on-the-job training at the state-of-the-art facility.”

Nick Roth, president of sister company, empirical technology, inc., said, “We took a long time evaluating the right location to be home for our new facility, and could not find a better, more welcoming community than Garden City. The state of Kansas, and Garden City in particular, have always been great partners to the beef industry and companies like ours, that have been valued members of the community for years. As we look to take this next step in the growth of our ground beef business, we can’t imagine a better place, or better people, to be part of the next chapter in the empirical story.”

Related:Is ground beef losing out to pork and poultry?

A formal groundbreaking ceremony and celebration is in the works for early 2020.

Jennifer Letch, empirical head of administrative support, said, “We want to plan an event that gives us the right opportunity to bring everyone in Garden City up to speed on all of the exciting developments here at empirical. Garden City has so many wonderful things to offer anyone lucky enough to live or work there, and we are thankful to have this chance to expand our relationship with the entire community.”

The empirical company is headquartered in Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, where they have been working in the lean ground beef processing space for 40 years. With a focus on automation, sustainability and food safety, empirical’s facilities use highly-automated and technological advanced systems to best utilize the beef animal from nose to tail.
So what does this mean for producers? At a time where the industry is looking at more marketing opportunities and more competitors in the retail and packing space, this is good news worth celebrating.

Related:Feedyard returns vs. producers’ share of the retail dollar

“The sustainable nature of empirical foods production process has dramatically increased value to the beef carcass, typically over $50 per head,” said Letch. “Expanding empirical’s production capacity brings even more of that value to the nations producers.

“Based on the current market and demand, we anticipate a relatively short period of time before we will want to be at full operating status. We expect the growth in demand to come from our current client base as well as new customers.”

For more information, visit

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of or Farm Progress.

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