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Cherokee Nation Announces Meat Processing Plant Coming To Tahlequah

Cherokee Nation
Cherokee Nation officials on a walk-through of the future meat processing facility in Tahlequah.

Cherokee Nation announced Friday its plans to open a meat processing facility in Tahlequah funded at least partially with federal coronavirus relief money.

"During the COVID-19 pandemic, beef and other meat sources were harder to supply to elders through emergency food distributions, and opening a meat processing facility will help sustain foods for Cherokee citizens and bring in jobs and agricultural opportunities for the tribe," the tribe said in a written statement.

Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said he expects the plant, projected to cost about $1 million, will provide a number of benefits.

"It'll held address some food security needs for the Cherokee people, but it's broader than that," Hoskin said. "We also have to think about sustainability. Part of sustainability means employment for our people."

The tribe predicts the plant will create seven jobs.

Hoskin also said the tribe has discussed such a plant for years, and that investing in a new industry may make good financial sense.

"We also have an opportunity, I think, to get into a sector of the economy that we haven't gotten into a great deal, and that's agriculture," Hoskin said.

At an interim study at the state capitol in September, Oklahoma meat industry insiders predicted that small-scale processors may see the most growth following the pandemic.

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