Monday, February 6, 2012

Shelby Possibly Set to Hit Another Economic Windfall

Saw an interesting story on KFBB News tonight. It seems our Governor has been to China and has returned with grand plans for a potential pork processing facility to be built in Shelby. The news report quotes the Governor as saying the facility could produce 800,000 pigs at the facility and it would be financed by the Chinese. I am still a little unclear if the word is Produce, which would indicate raising or if they meant process which would seem logical for a meat processing plant but either way it could be an asset for our area.

I do wonder why all economic development seems to fall into Shelby’s lap? Could it be that the Toole County city-county officials actually work together to promote business while our Hill County city-county officials tend to spend all their time trying to out-wit each other. Check out the report over at KFBB TV

STORY UPDATE February 7-2012
There are a couple of stories I missed when I posted last night that have further information on the Governor’s attempts to export pork to China. Check The Montana Watchdog and the Billings Gazette for further details.

Apparently we are talking about Chinese officials investing $150 million in a pork processing plant in Shelby and then shipping the product back to be consumed by the Chinese people. At the full capacity of 800,000 hogs per year this plant would employ between 400-500 people.

Governor Schweitzer told reporters Monday that a Chinese delegation will visit soon to examine a potential site for the plant near Shelby. The Billings Gazette article said that the animals would come from producers in Montana, the Dakotas, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Even though Hill County and Havre (birthplace of the Governor) are never enough on the ball to be on the receiving end of any good news we wish the best of luck to Shelby and hope for a few tailings from the “trickle down” prosperity in Toole County.


  1. A few of us old guys remember when Montana was looking for a location for a new private prison.

    Havre stopped that one, and the jobs that came with it, in its tracks. That prison, and those jobs went to Shelby.

    Shelby works to attract new business and new opportunity to its community. I cannot say the same about Havre.

  2. If the numbers are accurate 800,000pigs divided by about 2,000 working hours in a year would mean they would have to butcher 400 hogs per hour.


  3. Shelby may be getting all the jobs now but you just wait. We are primed and ready with a big vacant lot called the industrial park just waiting for the big boom to happen. Someone is going to come along soon and beg us to let them give us bucketfuls of money and build something here in Havre

  4. Maybe Freddy they will use multiple shifts?

  5. The way I read it they are going to raise pigs rather than butcher them.

    It is a huge difference because the byproducts of pork production (pig sewage) is some nasty stuff to deal with, unless it can be used for something such as as power generation or fertilizer production.

    Either way, if they are going to raise that many hogs, they hopefully will have more public sanitation hoops to jump through than Wendys of Havre did.

  6. The USDA-ERS has just issued a Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook Special Report, "China's Volatile Pork Industry":

    "With China's emergence as a new source of potential demand for U.S.pork exports, it is important for U.S. farmers, business leaders, and policymakers to understand the volatile nature of China's pork industry. Prices, hog inventories, and pork output in China fluctuate from year to year in response to various factors that influence the market, and China's imports of pork tend to rise when Chinese hog prices are high. Extensive policy intervention by the Chinese government has contributed to consolidation in the country's pork industry but has not stabilized the market. Imported pork is becoming more competitive in China as Chinese pork production costs rise and animal disease outbreaks, environmental threats, and food safety concerns constrain growth of China's hog industry."

    The complete 30-page Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook Special Report, "China's Volatile Pork Industry", can be accessed by going to (it's currently listed under Current Documents):

  7. Story updated with new information and links 2/07/12

    Also thank you Walter for providing the USDA update link

  8. aren't these the kind of things we pay Bear Paw Development to find for us?

    Why doesn't anything ever happen Havre?

  9. This should make the Hutterites very happy. They are the only ones that still raise hogs, and if you look where the hogs are coming from, it is all Hutterite states and provinces. Look for land to go up another $200 an acre when they get even more moneyed up.

  10. They might be planning on a 24 hour plant Ken but that is still a bunch of hogs. I am assuming like every big deal with a poitician involved the numbers have been greatly inflated to make for a good story.

    Even a thousand hogs a week would be a great plant.

  11. Nothing ever happens in Havre American because we are a backwater self defeating bunch that can’t even get along enough to operate a swimming pool let alone attract any business that will employ someone.

    Just wait - someone will make the comment that we don't want this because
    A) the smell
    B) because Chinese will own it
    C) the jobs will not be high enough wages
    D) It will attract low-lifes who are below our stature
    E)The location they picked to build is not where our $200 a month City CEO's would have picked if they had any money and ever did anything themselves
    F) The zoning / health issues would be too great of concern

    I could go through the whole alphabet with reasons that have been used in the past to stop projects. Is it any wonder no one even bothers to look at Hill County anymore?

  12. You all are kind of cynical. I might just move to Shelby and get in on the action