Coastal Plains Meat Company Fills Processing Need in Louisiana


The conversation on a plane trip overseas should have been about an oil and gas project for veterans David Billings and Chip Perrin. Instead, the business partners’ talk diverted to their shared passion for raising cattle.

It was the beginning of a project benefiting the cattle industry in Louisiana and the U.S. Gulf Coast with the creation of Coastal Plains Meat Company. David is in an executive advisory role and Chip is president.

The two military veterans met in 2006, a year after getting out of the service. David was deployed to Iraq and served with the 1st Cavalry Division, 3rd Infantry Division, and the 10th Mountain Division in the Army. Chip was in avionics and flew on Huey and Cobra helicopters with the Marine Corps in Afghanistan.

Post-service, they became corporate executives in the oil and gas industry in manufacturing and capital project development. But on that plane flight emerged a new topic.

“Instead of talking about the project, we started talking about cattle,” Chip recalled.

Chip’s family’s involvement in raising cattle goes back five generations to the countryside of France. Four generations have now run cattle in Louisiana. Chip’s father, Randall, will be 70 in November and continues to run the family operation, Vermilion Oaks Ranch.

Chip started his own herd and began Black Cypress Cattle, which focuses on grass-fed and grain-finished cattle. He and his wife, Heather, who serves as vice president of marketing for Coastal Plains Meat Company, have two children. Lily, 15, and Dax, 10, both show cattle.

David learned about cattle ranching from a young age while he grew up on a farm and worked on others in South Louisiana and spent a lot of time with his grandfather, Larry LaGrande, who ran a horse training farm in Louisiana. In high school David’s passion for horses and cattle grew while he was part of the Bacque family crew.

His son, Ty Billings, 19, is the ranch manager of The Billings Ranch and 3B Cattle Company as well as a beginner horse trainer. David and Ty compete in team roping together.

Another son, Peyton, is legacy Army, following in dad’s footsteps with the 1st Cavalry Division and is currently deployed in support of his country.

David also has stepchildren Alesandro and Eliana Salcedo with his wife, Jessica. They also have a passion for being at the ranch and around the cattle.

It was on that flight that David and Chip discussed their own experiences about the challenges of trying to book animals for processing at existing plants.
“It was hard to get a slot,” Chip said.

Their vision was to give Louisiana cattlemen another option to selling their livestock.

“We agreed that beef processing is something we need to look at,” David said.

Coming up with a company name was a no-brainer, David said. “It’s along the Gulf Coast. The grassland is called the Coastal Plains. A ton of cattle were raised on the Coastal Plains.”

Chip said cattle in South Louisiana used to be run through the marshlands onto Marsh Island for the winter. Hurricanes, however, forced cattlemen to move their herds farther north. Marsh Island is now a state wildlife refuge.

The pair found and bought a meat processing plant in Eunice, Louisiana, and upgraded it significantly. The state-of-art technology ensures humane handling of the animals, focuses on growing and sourcing locally, and offers the ability to sell sustainable beef nationwide.

“We invested millions of dollars in the facility,” David said. “We were corporate business guys who put our business skills into this.”

It’s worked well. From five years since the concept on that flight, with a few Covid hiccups, in the last 2½ years Coastal Plains has become the largest USDA harvest facility in Louisiana. It has the ability to process up to 150 head a week.

David said he’s equally proud about the high marks given to their facility by those who see it first-hand.

“When we’ve had clients tour our facility, including some from the inspection agencies, they all tell us our plant is the cleanest they’ve seen,” he said. “That is critical in producing high-quality products our clients have grown to expect from us.”

Having the Homegrown by Heroes label on their products has been a great help, both said.

“Homegrown By Heroes has been a plus for us,” Chip said.

“We don’t go around telling people we’re veterans, but when they see that label they ask, ‘You guys are veterans?’ And maybe while it didn’t get them in the door, it’s helped us close deals.”

David agreed.

“We’re proud to be veterans and proud to bring this to markets,” he said. “(Homegrown By Heroes) resonates with our clients.”

To learn more about Coastal Plains Meat Company, click the links below.