SIOUX CITY, Iowa – Construction progress on the Seaboard Triumph Foods pork plant was a pleasant surprise to company officials during a recent visit to the site, according to a report published the Sioux City Journal. COO Mark Porter and Director of Community Relations and Government Affairs Irving Jensen III provided a positive progress report  on the project, where ground was broken in September of 2015.

A joint venture between Seaboard Foods and Triumph Foods was formed one year ago and announced construction of the $264 million plant in the Sioux City’s Bridgeport West business park. The number of construction workers on site is expected to total nearly 1,000 later this summer.

“We’re on schedule. Perhaps even a bit ahead of schedule,” Porter told the Sioux City Journal. “That’s despite all the rain we’ve gotten so far this spring.”

If construction stays on schedule, the plant is set to open in the middle of 2017.

The project is believed to be the largest private economic development inside the city boundaries. Epstein, a Chicago-based design and construction company, is the general contractor for the project.

Once completed, the 850,000-sq.-ft. plant will employee about 1,100 employees and a second shift could be added, which would raise the number of employees to more than 2,000. “We’re going to recruit in Sioux City,” Jensen told the Sioux City Journal.

Porter gave a conservative estimate of the plants abilities at up to 3 million hogs a year, or the equivalent of 620 million lbs. of pork.

State-of-the-art technology will be used to process wastewater nearby to help reduce the stench, Jensen said.

“We are as far along in the industry with water processing. We’ll burn our own methane to help cut down on energy costs and provide solid waste as fertilizer to farmers,” Porter added.

Sioux City’s economic development director, Marty Dougherty told the Sioux City Journal, “Projects of this size, we think the capital investment and number of workers has a great impact on the regional economy. Iowa is the number one producer of pork in the country, and this helps us tap into that locally and see those benefits.”

Dougherty added that the plant’s construction has had a positive impact in the region by construction workers shopping at local stores, eating at local restaurants and staying at local hotels.