Colorado businessman plans to open meat processing plant, butcher school

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A Colorado Springs, Colo., business owner is looking to buy a former warehouse in that town and convert it into a meat processing plant, according to a report by the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Mike Callicrate, owner of meatpacker and retail outlet Ranch Foods Direct, is nearing a close on the property, a two-story, 21,000-square-foot space that he wants to use for a processing plant and a meat-cutting school for culinary students, the newspaper reports.

Also in the plans would be placement of a former railroad cattle and dining car on railroad tracks behind the building to serve visitors fresh-cut beef.

Callicrate, according to the Gazette, was also a part owner of Ranch Steakhouse and Market until 2007 and “one of the driving forces” behind the country-of-origin labeling clause included in the 2002 farm bill.

Callicrate in fact has been a visible advocate in a number of issues: Last year, for example, as vice president of the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM), he was party to a lawsuit that OCM filed on his behalf seeking an injunction on the use of beef checkoff funds, contending that they are misused. The lawsuit was dropped in April 2013.

Overall, Callicrate has been involved in about a dozen lawsuits since the 1980s, some of which similarly challenged the business practices of large companies such as Cargill and IBP.

By Tom Johnston on 12/18/2013

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