Minor Fire at National Beef Plant

Beef Trade Lower Following News of Fire at National Beef Processing Plant in Kansas

Jennifer Carrico
By  Jennifer Carrico , Senior Livestock Editor
The National Beef processing facility in Liberal, Kansas was closed March 21 after an overnight fire in the loading dock. (DTN/Progressive Farmer file photo by Jennifer Carrico)

REDFIELD, Iowa (DTN) -- A truck parked in the loading dock at the National Beef facility in Liberal, Kansas caught fire at 9:50 p.m. of March 20 and spread to other trailers and a portion of the loading dock according to a statement from the company. The National Beef statement went on to say the facility was operating at the time of the fire and was evacuated for the safety of employees and others on-site. Emergency services extinguished the fire within a couple hours with no injuries reported.

Production at the Liberal facility was suspended after the fire. The company announced it will resume production on March 25, as authorities have the time to determine the cause, assess the damage, and prepare for restarting production. The plant has a daily fed beef harvesting capacity of 6,000 head.

National Beef said it was grateful for the quick response and support of the Liberal Fire Department, Liberal Police Department, and other emergency services.


Memories of the 2019 fire at Tyson Fresh Meats in Holcomb, Kansas -- which caused an extensive shutdown at the beef plant and a drop in market prices -- caused some fear across the beef industry.

"The fire at National Beef's processing plant in Liberal, Kansas was only a minor degree fire in their reefer (refrigerated) unit which shouldn't have any colossal effects on production. The live cattle contracts did, however, trade lower throughout Thursday's trade as the announcement of a packing plant fire brought back grim memories of the 2019 Holcomb plant fire," said DTN's Livestock Market Analyst ShayLe Stewart.

Prices fell after the Holcomb plant fire that happened on Aug. 9, 2019. That price shift led to an investigation by the Department of Justice and extensive discussions of cattle market transparency among organizations and government officials.

Jennifer Carrico can be reached at jennifer.carrico@dtn.com

Follow her on X, formerly known as Twitter, @JennCattleGal

Jennifer Carrico