Chad Tentinger of Cattlemen’s Heritage Beef Co. is initiating a new way to buy cattle and sell beef to consumers from the company’s new Council Bluffs plant.
By Steve Dinnen
“It’s full traceability, from pasture to plate,” said Tentinger, a fourth-generation cattleman from northwest Iowa.
“Shackle space” will help keep the company running once it starts to receive cattle. A shackle is the device to which a cow carcass is affixed as it moves along a processing line, and Cattlemen’s Heritage will sell shackle space to both ranchers and outside investors. These sales to outside investors are basically medium-term notes, with the shackles used as a denominator. Buy a shackle or two (or thousands, more likely) for three years and the company will pay back your money with what works out to be an end-of-year return of 11.87%. Longer investment periods carry higher returns.
“We guarantee to buy back these shackles with premiums,” Tentinger said. He also noted that this is
“first in line” money. “You get paid before the banks get paid back.”
Though Iowa raises a lot of cattle, it lacks enough processing facilities, so hundreds of thousands of head are sent out of state every year, which is costly to ranchers. This plant should ease that problem, said Ernie Goss, an economics professor at Creighton University. He said it could generate as much as $8 billion in economic gain for Iowa by 2028.