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O'Neill Locker Plant To Open

Feb 7, 2024 (0)

Locker Plant - Kody Kirwan and his family have been looking forward to opening their locker plant this coming March. Pictured above is (l-r): Kirwan and his son Garrett.
Shamrock lockers will start processing March 1 at its new facility in south O'Neill.

O'Neill will be getting something it hasn't had in 40 some years - a working locker plant.

Kody Kirwan and his family are the ones making it happen. Kirwan is originally from Butte and he and his wife Holli have been in Gretna since 2018 and decided to move back. "I have been doing carpentry work for many years and wanted to get out of that line of work because it's tough on the body, although people have been telling me that running a locker isn't much easier. We got the idea from my wife's cousin, Lonnie Liewer, who runs the Gregory County Locker  Meat Locker in Burke, South Dakota. We weren't even going to consider doing this unless we had a  resource to help get us up and running and show us the ropes," said Kody.

Kirwan and his family have been working on the project since last May. 

"The old Turkey processing plant on south fourth which was owned by Bob Waldo was offered to me. The building was in rough shape and needed to come down but it was a prime location for a business. My sons Grant and Garrett have been helping with the construction and I myself am doing a lot of the carpentry work. Garrett has been doing the welding and Grant has a trucking company that helped with the clearing of the debris and some of the dirt work on the project. We are hoping to be up and running by March 1 as we have beef coming in that day. We have been able to complete this project with very little aide. We did get some help from the city of O'Neill with the disposal and cleanup of the old turkey plant, otherwise it has just been hard work and family resourcefulness that has made this project come together."

The locker will be doing custom processing. At first they will only be processing product back to those who bring in their own beef. The locker is working on getting their U.S.D.A. certification which allows the facility to take in meat and process it for resale to other customers other than those who brought in the beef. It may be a little while but once they get going they will add the resale out the front door service later.

The locker is a 7,200 sq. ft. building and can store 80 head in the cooler and probable daily capacity of 6,000 pounds a day.

"We will start out with five employees, but when we get going we hope to have 10-12 when we are going strong."


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