The North Carolina-based company that picked north-central Iowa’s Wright County to build a $240 million hog processing plant is being praised by many — and criticized by others.
Jessica Mazour, a farm and environmental organizer with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, says residents in the Eagle Grove area need to stand up and be heard. “A lot of people are sick and tired of corporate ag coming in and not getting a say in the decisions that are made in their communities,” Mazour says. “They don’t want more hog confinements. They don’t want their public money to be going towards a big corporation that doesn’t need taxpayer money.”
Prestage Farms originally wanted to build in the Mason City area but the plans fell through and now officials are looking at a site in Wright County. While state officials tout the 900 promised jobs the plant will create, Mazour isn’t impressed.
“These are bad jobs,” Mazour says. “This not the type of job that’s going to attract people to Wright County. No one’s going to say, ‘Ooo, there’s a slaughterhouse here. I want to move here.’ They want jobs that treat workers with respect and with dignity and that pay well. These jobs are low paying, high injury, non-union jobs.”
About 50 people attended the ICCI-sponsored meeting last night at the Clarion Public Library to discuss the Prestage Farms plant.
“A lot of the people were there because they live next to hog confinements and they know the impact this industry has on communities,” Mazour says. “A lot of flies. People who live close to where the plant is being proposed already have a major fly problem. The traffic. There’s going to be hundreds of trucks coming in and out of the building every day. That’s going to do a lot of damage to the roads.” She says the plant is “not a done deal.”
Those who oppose the proposed facility plan to let their feelings be known at 9:15 AM Monday at the Wright County Courthouse in Clarion.
(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)