By Michael Fielding on 2/10/2012
Montana’s pork industry would get a major boost under a plan by Gov. Brian Schweitzer to bring a Chinese-backed processing facility to Shelby, located in the northern part of the state near the Canadian border.
After a similar courting of Danish investors failed to lead anywhere five years ago, Schweitzer turned to the Chinese, who hope to build a USDA-certified facility that would process 1.2 million hogs annually and employ 500 people.
It would be the state’s first commercial-scale meat processing facility, Schweitzer told Meatingplace. “Right now we’re exporting meat out of state,” he said.
“The Chinese consume 50 percent of the pork on the planet. They don’t want to compete with themselves,” he said of their interest in the Montana facility. “They want new production.”
Shelby, Mont., lies at the intersection of Interstate 15 into Alberta and U.S. Route 2, which connects with Interstate 90. It’s also on a major rail route between Seattle and Chicago…