Owner: John Valencia
Location: Greenwood, Ark.
History: “I began working at Whirlpool in Fort Smith, Ark., in 2001. Then in 2009, when I was working as a line supervisor, I got laid off. Wanting to be more in control of my own life, I decided to become self-employed and started constructing meat processing plants. At the time, I also had some leased land in Sebastian County and ran a small cattle herd for personal use and processed my own beef. I was always an avid hunter and also processed my game. About a year later I thought about the difficulties of many of my fellow hunters finding a place to process their game. I also felt a need existed for a local livestock processing facility. That was when I built my own processing plant about 2 miles west of Greenwood and soon discovered the need for game and livestock was definitely there. I also discovered my layout was not the most efficient for the employees and reconfigured the facility which included moving walls and doors. The business prospered, and in 2019 I doubled my freezer space.”
Products and Services:“As long as an animal to be processed doesn’t have feathers, I will gladly process it. Once I processed a beaver and another time saved the hide of a water buffalo for a customer, something that I do when requested. Game accounts for 60 percent of my business, with livestock filling out the rest. Livestock customers bring live animals by appointment and specify how they want the animal processed so they get the exact cuts they want. In addition, I make breakfast sausage, summer sausage, jerky, snack sticks, bratwurst and/or bacon if requested. The turnaround time for cattle is an average of 18 days and hogs 14 days. I discontinue processing livestock the first or second week of October in order to meet the demands of my hunter customers and resume livestock processing in December. Deer have a seven-day turnaround with the facility processing 70 deer a day during hunting season.”
Business Philosophy and Future: “My workers are an amazing group of people I knew and respected before I opened my business. They are diligent, hard-working and dependable. We always greet customers with a smile. For me, the most important part of what we do is to ensure customers receive the exact animal they bring in which is accomplished through a tagging system. Because I am booked solid about a year ahead, I am planning on building an additional facility since the need is so obvious. I have not yet decided if the one plant will be for game and one for livestock or if both will be modeled after our current dual method of operation.”