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Beef industry veteran returns home to the Northern Plains

Van Berkel named Vice President of Sales and Cattle Procurement

Flandreau, SD—Ridgefield Farms will welcome Arnold Van Berkel back to the Northern Plains area as their new Vice President of Sales and Cattle Procurement in October.

Veteran of the beef industry, Van Berkel will bring a solid knowledge of operations of the beef industry as he steps into his new management role with Ridgefield Farms. With an experienced understanding of Ridgefield Farms, South Dakota, and the beef industry, Van Berkel is familiar with the challenges facing this young company.

“After five years of history as Ridgefield Farms we are still considered a start up company. We continue to build a solid customer base and we know what consumers want and how to meet their demands,” said Arnold Van Berkel. “Due to our size Ridgefield Farms has to be a niche marketer to be successful. Ridgefield Farms is on the right track with their trademarked Premium Hereford Beef program. South Dakota is the right home for Ridgefield Farms as it will allow for controlled growth of our niche product and program.”

With an established background both in the meat industry as well as within the Ridgefield Farms organization, Van Berkel understands the value of strong leadership and vision. As a member of the Ridgefield Farms sales team for three years, Van Berkel has assisted in the growth of Ridgefield Farms.

“The strength of Ridgefield Farms is held in the leadership and the potential for growth as a company that values innovation and civic responsibility. As a small, growing company it is fundamental to have strong management and expertise leading the way as well as a sound working relationship with the local community,” said Van Berkel.

Recent discussions with South Dakota communities have fostered a potential move to Flandreau, SD for the Ridgefield Farms fabrication facility. Monday night, October 3, 2005, the City Council of Flandreau voted to provide Ridgefield Farms with the financial assistance essential to make the move to the new community and activate a task force committed primarily to building the Ridgefield Farms fabrication facility.

“The city of Flandreau has given Ridgefield Farms a wonderful opportunity and they fully believe in the project. I applaud Flandreau for wanting to bring this in and being a leader in South Dakota and the beef industry,” said Van Berkel.

In 1970 Van Berkel left the family cattle farm near Luverne, MN for meat management positions with retailer Applebaums in the Twin Cities and then became Meat Director with Cub Foods in Indianapolis, IN. Before making his move to Ridgefield Farms, Van Berkel spent close to a decade with the Monfort Beef Company in Colorado as their Customer Development Manager. Van Berkel also has received three National Marketing awards for best innovative promotions. In 2002 Van Berkel joined Ridgefield Farms as the Western Marketing Manager responsible for building and increasing company sales in Western states including California, Nevada, Washington, Arizona, and Hawaii. Upon joining the Ridgefield Farms team in Flandreau, SD, Van Berkel will take over as the Vice President of Sales and Cattle Procurement.

“It is an exciting move for my wife and I to be a large part of Ridgefield Farms and the growth of a positive, successful company,” said Van Berkel. “What this company can do as a whole for the state of South Dakota cannot be comprehended. This is what cattle producers as well as the beef industry needs in order to set the bar higher for excellence in beef fabrication and marketing.”

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