Prestage Foods finds home for new pork plant

by Erica Shaffer
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EAGLE GROVE, Iowa – Prestage Foods of Iowa LLC struggled to find a home for a new pork processing plant; but in the end, Wright County, Iowa, won.

“We are investing in Iowa and specifically Wright County because we believe this plant is good for Iowa, good for agriculture and a good step forward for our family-owned and run business,” Ron Prestage, DVM, said on behalf of the Prestage family. “Iowa is the nation’s leading pork producing state and currently produces more pigs than it can process. This plant will keep the value from processing pigs in this state.”

Construction on the $43 million facility is expected to begin in the fall this year pending final approvals from the county and state, the company Prestage said. The proposed 650,000-sq.-ft. pork processing facility will have a slaughter capacity of 10,000 hogs per day once fully operational. Prestage estimates the project will be complete, with first shift operations running, beginning in mid-2018.

The positive news from Wright County is a reversal of fortune for Prestage Foods following an unsuccessful bid to build the plant in Mason City, Iowa. Efforts by Prestage, city and county officials to bring the facility to Mason City were no match for community opposition to the project. An incentive package for Prestage failed to pass the Mason City Council; residents who opposed the plant in their community cited concerns about wastewater and odor, overburdening social services and possible impacts on local property values.

Turning away the Prestage plant meant turning down 900 new jobs and $240 million of investment — two factors that have Wright County officials upbeat about the new facility.

“We are excited to have Prestage Foods of Iowa construct their first pork processing plant in Wright County,” said Bryce Davis, Wright County economic development director. “After discussions with the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the Wright County Board of Supervisors, local business owners, community organizations, regional partners, schools and healthcare providers, we believe the plant will be an extremely positive addition to our community.”

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