TAMA, Iowa – On July 1, the Tama City Council approved the tax incentives for Iowa Premium Beef (IPB), which hopes to initially employ as many as 550 and ramp up to 950 employees over the next three years, according to The Gazette.

Originally called Tama Meat Packing, the facility was built in 1971. Since then it has operated under several owners, including Tyson Fresh Meats. The 900-member Iowa Quality Beef Supply Cooperative shut down the plant in August of 2004. Property taxes on 23 acres of the plant site on the east side of Tama are involved in the rebate.

Iowa Premium Beef is designed to be a custom processor and will not compete against major packers. This facility will slaughter cattle for producers who sell their own branded beef. IPB also plans to buy cattle as well as to market its own beef.

One-hundred percent of the property taxes on improvements will be refunded to IPB for the first five years, according to the agreement. Starting at 90 percent, a sliding scale will determine the amount of the rebate over the remaining five years – trimmed by 10 percent per year.

In July 2003, the cooperative opened the remodeled plant, in hopes of boosting Iowa’s cattle industry through the sale of high-quality beef at a premium price. An investment of $12 million was made by cooperative members in the project and they obtained loans and grants to finance the remaining $32 million cost. A little more than a year after it opened, the plant closed and its 540 employees were furloughed. The Iowa Quality Beef Supply Cooperative pointed to poor market conditions and international fear over bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) as the reasons behind the closure.