PIPESTONE — The September announcement that J&B Group would close its beef processing operation in Pipestone brought a cloud of worry over the community, but the silver lining appeared Tuesday in the form a press release disclosing that JBS USA has entered into a lease with an intent to buy the J&B location.

The purchase is slated to take place within a few months.

"We're just tickled," said Pipestone city council member Dan Delaney. "We're certainly glad there was a sale made. It's vital to our community to have an employer like this come in."

An estimated 145 jobs were on the line with the closing of the J&B plant. Thanks to the agreement with JBS USA, those jobs are now secured to stay in the community, officials said.

"Especially this time of year," Delaney said, "things were looking pretty bleak for awhile." He explained that a different potential buyer had previously expressed interest in the property, and when the sale didn't work out, hopes were dashed again.

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"The important thing is, those jobs are still available," Delaney said.

Mayor Myron Koets agreed.

"We're delighted...that the people there will have an opportunity to continue working," he said.

Both the city of Pipestone and J&B Group had been working with the displaced employees to find them new positions so they could provide for their families, Delaney noted.

JBS USA Pork COO Bob Krebs expressed excitement at the development, as well.

"We are excited to welcome the Pipestone team members to JBS USA," he said in a press release. "We plan on investing in the facility and growing the business, allowing our new team members and the local community to grow with us."

Koets added, "We're looking forward to working with JBS in the community and we hope they will be just as friendly as J&B has been."