Officers of a start-up supplier of case-ready and boxed beef are negotiating with the U.S. trustee charged with the liquidation of Future Beef Operations LLC in Denver bankruptcy court. The principal asset of FBO is its plant in Arkansas City, Kan. The plant, which opened in August 2001 and ceased operations a year later, was Food Engineering’s 2002 Food Plant of the Year.

“We’ve submitted a letter of intent to purchase the plant and are in the process of due diligence and evaluation,” according to R. David Mitchell, CEO of LeForce Signature Beef in Oklahoma City, Okla. “We are very interested in the plant and are spending a lot of time and money on this negotiation.”

LeForce consists of a management team that is trying to execute a business plan for a vertically integrated beef processor. British breeds of cattle are to be managed on company-owned and operated feed lots, then processed in a state-of-the-art facility and brought to market in a controlled supply chain.

The first wave of cattle already has been calved, and LeForce was designing a processing facility when the Future Beef plant became available, Mitchell says. Slaughter operations are scheduled to begin in 2003.