SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – Salisbury, Md.-based Perdue Farms acquired Sioux Preme Packing Co. in 2015. Originally, Sioux Preme operated its harvest facility in Sioux Center, Iowa, and its fabrication down the road in Sioux City. The two facilities did and still operate as a single business under the name Perdue Premium Meat Company (PPMC). However, The Sioux Center harvest plant finished an expansion of roughly 55,000 square feet at a cost of approximately $29 million.

“Prior to the expansion, we had a facility of 125,000 square feet, that included all buildings, wastewater and the maintenance shop. Now we have over 180,000 square feet and plenty of room to grow,” said Rick Getman, director of operations, a position responsible for both facilities.

The Sioux Center addition added about 50 employees to bring the total for both facilities to about 430, including sales, non-harvest and fabrication positions. With the new square footage, the Sioux Center location carries about 60% of the employees while the remainder work in Sioux City.

“We didn't increase production. We increased capabilities,” said Gary Malenke, senior vice president of pork operations, regarding the capacity of the facility to continue to harvest the same number of hogs – 4,500 head per day (475 an hour). “We're going to further manufacture, package and customize our products beyond what we've been able to do in the past with our state-of-the-art equipment and innovative new case-ready offerings,” Malenke added.

Production includes pork for the Niman Ranch and Coleman Natural Foods brands, as well as production under the Sioux Preme name for its commodity-based business.

The Niman Ranch and Coleman Natural Foods brands possess certain, popular attributes that today’s consumers look for. Attributes such as organic, antibiotic free and humanely raised, among others, are label claims the Sioux Center and Sioux City, Iowa, facilities source and produce with an understanding of the quality necessary and the extra time and effort it demands. The plants are Certified Organic, Certified Humane, Animal Welfare Approved, American Humane Certified, Global Food Safety Initiative Certified (GFSI) and Sioux Center is 100% wind powered. 

The facility now breaks carcasses down to sub-primals, packing some case-ready products including ground and chops rather than sending all carcasses to Sioux City for fabrication post-harvest. Also, the Sioux Center facility can send ham and bacon directly to customers. The expansion increased efficiency and productivity, Malenke said.

Frontmatec equipment and machines dominate the landscape of the new addition to the facility. PPMC and Frontmatec made worker safety a priority in the design of the plant. Cages hold the saws and other dangerous equipment within what Getman called a “fortress” system. The cages require several keys for entry in an intricate lock-out-tag-out system. The entire addition is integrated. If any one part of the line is not running, no part of the line is running. The relationship between PPMC and Frontmatec transcends the common business of a supplier selling and a customer purchasing.

Read more in the upcoming June issue of MEAT+POULTRY in print and digital.