New Owners Spare Palmer Slaughterhouse
Local livestock farmers will continue to have access to an Alaskan-owned, in-state slaughterhouse with the sale of Mt. McKinley Meat and Sausage to Todd and Sherrie Elsberry, who raise hogs in North Pole.
The facility on Inner Springer Loop in Palmer was purchased for an undisclosed price by Alaska Meat Packers Incorporated, doing business as Alaska Meat. The Elsberrys are majority owners, and other investors include High Caliber Realty and Bill Borden, the real estate company and broker that put the deal together.
“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,” says Governor Mike Dunleavy. “Maintaining an Alaska-owned, US 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.”
Established as part of the Matanuska agricultural colony in the 1930s, the slaughterhouse served Alaska farmers and consumers until private owners abandoned it in 1986. The State of Alaska stepped in to operate it until 2016, then sold it to a private citizen who operated it until 2020 in conjunction with a cattle ranch and butcher shop to slaughter, process and sell beef and hogs, as well as bison, elk, yak, or other exotic meats. The Elsberrys are the state’s largest pork producer and did not purchase those other businesses.
As the largest of only three slaughterhouses in Alaska inspected and approved by the USDA, and the only one capable of serving commercial customers, the facility plays a critical role in the state’s agriculture industry, says Corri Feige, commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources.
“This is tremendous news for Alaskans, for many different reasons,” Feige adds. “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 Elsberrys for stepping up to maintain this vital part of the state economy.”
Feige also credited Division of Agriculture Director David Schade, governor’s office economic development specialists Fred Villa and Matt Fagnani, former owner Greg Giannulis, and Borden for their contributions to bringing the sale to completion.
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This year the Alaska Railroad is celebrating 100 years of transportation people and cargo around Alaska. While the railroad is one of the states oldest transporters, it certainly isn’t the only one, and in this issue of Alaska Business we also check in on the Marine Highway, Span Alaska, and the White Pass & Yukon Route. For those interested in Southeast, our focus on that region provides updates on Kensington Mine, Tongass FCU, the troll fishery, and Juneau’s growing landfill.