Palmer slaughterhouse under new ownership

Palmer, Alaska.
Palmer, Alaska.(Scott Gross)
Published: Nov. 12, 2021 at 5:06 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A Palmer slaughterhouse will fully function once again and help increase food security in Alaska, now that a couple from North Pole have become its new owners.

The Alaska Department of Natural Resources issued a press release on Friday detailing the sale of Mt. McKinley Meat and Sausage to Todd and Sherrie Elsberry of North Pole, who are the largest producers of pork in the state. Alaska Meat Packers Incorporated, doing business as Alaska Meat, purchased the facility. The Elsberrys are joined by High Caliber Realty and Bill Borden as investors to purchase the slaughterhouse that was established decades ago.

According to the release, only three slaughterhouse facilities exist in Alaska that are approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is the largest of the three, and the only one capable of serving commercial customers.

Commissioner Corri Feige gave credit to former owner Greg Giannulis, Division of Agriculture Director David Schade and Borden for helping bring the sale to completion.

“This is tremendous news for Alaskans, for many different reasons,” Feige said in the press release. “It will help grow a strong ranching industry, provide a secure source of meat, preserve private sector jobs and support investment in our agriculture, shipping, retail, and hospitality sectors. I commend the Elsberry’s for stepping up to maintain this vital part of the state economy.”

Feige also said that the facility in Palmer will play a critical role for the agriculture industry. The facility was established as part of the colony in the Matanuska-Susitna region in 1930s, according to the press release, until it was abandoned in 1986. The state of Alaska operated the slaughterhouse until it was again sold to a private owner in 2016, who operated it for four years.

According to Borden, there were was a several month gap between the time the previous owner ceased operation and this new purchase. He noted that the previous owner did start the facility back up a few weeks ago to process some animals, and everything appears to be working fine. Todd and Sherrie Elsberry will officially reopen the slaughterhouse under the new business next week, Borden said.

“Supply disruptions and interstate commerce slowdowns of the past year have made it increasingly clear that Alaskans must look out for ourselves when it comes to protecting our vital food supply chain,” Gov. Mike Dunleavy is quoted as saying in the press release. “Maintaining an Alaska-owned, U.S. Department of Agriculture-approved slaughterhouse and meat packing facility of this size is essential to making sure Alaskans can continue to grow, process and enjoy fresh, healthy food.”

Todd Elsberry said he wants to make sure people know that, while he and his wife will use the slaughterhouse to sustain their own business, the facility will be open to anyone who needs it for animal slaughter. All people have to do is call to get on the schedule.

“I want to make sure everybody knows it will be open to the public — a USDA slaughter facility and processing — open to everyone as it always has been,” he said.

While the Elsberrys will remain based in North Pole, Alaska Meat will have an on-site manager.

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