Wright County officials plan to hold a public hearing on July 25th after announcing Tuesday that Prestage Farms of North Carolina has chosen the county as the location for their new pork processing plant.
The chairman of the Wright County Supervisors Stan Watne says the company will build the plant five miles south of Eagle Grove on Highway 17. “This site was chosen as it is at the center of hog production in Iowa with 6.5 million hogs marketed within 250 miles of this plant,” Watne says. “Prestage has several current operations in the county. Currently they have 15 farms in Wright County and 25 more in surrounding counties.”
The announcement came two months after the city council in Mason City failed to pass an economic development package to bring the plant there over concerns about how it might impact the community. Watne says they don’t have the same concerns.
“There’s no residential neighborhoods nearby and it will be located near similar agricultural processing businesses. The county has held discussions and will continue to communicate with city and school issues to discuss the potential population growth and the needs of those communities,” according to Watne. Watne says the plant and its 900 jobs holds big potential for the county.
He says all of Iowa’s counties have been seeing declining population and this plant may help to bring young families into the county and “we can turn around this constant decline.”
The average annual wages at the proposed Prestage Foods plant are expected to be between 37-thousand and 47-thousand dollars plus benefits. Construction is scheduled to begin this fall, pending the finalization of county and state approvals, with first-shift operations starting in the middle of 2018. Prestage hopes to slaughter up to 10-thousand animals per day once the plant is fully operational.
(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)