PLEASANT HOPE, Mo. – Moon Ridge Foods recently opened a new pork processing plant in Pleasant Hope. The project represents an investment of $54 million and 160 new jobs over the next two years.

The 110,000-sq.-ft. plant has a processing capacity for 600,000 Duroc hogs annually. Approximately 30 percent of the pork produced at the facility will be exported to Asia, the Missouri Dept. of Economic Development (DED) reported.

The facility is the first in the United States to employ snap-chilling technology which improves product shelf life, quality, processing and freshness while reducing energy use and carbon outputs. Additionally, Moon Ridge Foods uses solar and wind renewable energy sources.

“We want to create a company that sustains families and communities, throughout the value chain,” co-founder and CEO Russ Kremer said in a statement. “It’s about farming and processing practices that are respectful to its workers, the welfare of the animals and enhance our natural resources.”

The management team at the plant will be led by former Tyson Foods and Swift executive Dave Weaver. Other team members have held key management positions for Kraft Foods, Sara Lee, Excel, Columbus Foods, Seaboard Foods and Nestle, DED noted.

“I am pleased to welcome Moon Ridge Foods to Pleasant Hope, where its investment and new jobs will make a huge impact in this community and the surrounding rural area, and further advance economic development in this key industry,” said Mike Downing, director of DED. “Missouri has a long, rich history of feeding the world, and Moon Ridge’s expansion builds upon this tradition.”

The plant’s owners and the local Bank of Sullivan provided primary funding for the plant. Additional funding included Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing through Show-Me PACE, a program administered by the non-profit Missouri Energy Initiative that uses multiple lenders and private capital to pay for energy and water improvements to a property.