U.S. Premium Beef, Ltd. (USPB), a U.S. producer-owned beef marketing company, has announced plans to conduct a membership drive aimed at gauging the level of producer interest in a northern expansion by the company.

USPB owns Farmland National Beef Packing Company (FNB), the nation's fourth largest beef processors, in partnership with Farmland Industries. FNB has processing plants in Liberal and Dodge City, KS.

"Our success has spawned interest from producers in and outside our immediate trade area," Steve Hunt, USPB chief executive officer said, in making the announcement. "Over the past year, we have received many requests from northern beef producers regarding potential expansion of our processing capacity to the north.

"As a result of the level of interest northern producers have shown in U.S. Premium Beef, we will conduct a membership drive to quantify that level of interest," Hunt explained. "To secure a right to purchase stock in a potential expansion stock offering, interested parties must become lifetime members of USPB and pay a $1 per head registration fee. The membership drive will run until May 12, 2000.

"We have established 500,000 cattle, or registrations, as a minimum threshold we will need in order to proceed with a feasibility study," he added. "The funds will be placed in an escrow account and used to cover the cost of the membership drive and feasibility study.

"A successful membership drive will not guarantee a stock offering," Hunt said. "It simply will put us in a better position to make a more informed and timely decision regarding a northern expansion by our company."

Producers interested in participating in this membership drive should contact the USPB staff, 816-891-2300.

U.S. Premium Beef, Ltd., has ownership from every segment of the beef industry, including more than 1,000 producers from 28 states.

USPB producers' cattle go into several branded products, including Farmland Black Angus Beef, Farmland Certified Premium Beef and Certified Angus Beef.

In addition, USPB member produced beef also is being marketed direct to consumers through Kansas City Steak Company, a high quality, portion control and mail order company, which USPB owns in partnership with Farmland Industries.

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