The owner of the huge pork processing plant that will be built in Wright County says they will begin addressing environmental concerns immediately, before construction even begins.
Ron Prestage, of the North Carolina-based Prestage Farms, says some residents in the Eagle Grove area complained during public hearings about infestations of flies because of all the livestock facilities nearby.
“There has been a fly problem in Wright County I think in some part due to the devastating avian influenza outbreak that occurred in that part of Iowa,” Prestage says. Some fear the fly problem will only worsen in the surrounding area when the $240 million plant is built, as it’s designed to slaughter up to 20,000 hogs per day. Prestage says they’re aware of the issue and will address it right away.
“Prestage Farms intends to try to cooperatively work with the other producers, whether they’re egg producers, turkey producers or pork producers in Wright County starting immediately to start trying to take a very scientific approach into fixing that problem,” he says. Concerns are also being raised about the plant’s impact on water quality. Prestage says, “the environmental impact of that plant is going to be negligible,” with a focus on improving water quality.
“We’re going to discharge the wastewater after pretreating it to the Eagle Grove wastewater treatment plant,” Prestage says. “They are going to upgrade their facilities to meet the new 2020 standards all communities are going to have to meet. The water quality as a result of this plant being built and the economic burden being funded by us is going to be a great improvement of the water quality in Wright County.”
If all the permits are in place, construction may start on the plant in October. It’ll take two years to build and promises to employ 900 people initially, ramping up to 1,800 employees. Prestage chose to locate his pork plant near Eagle Grove after Mason City officials rejected plans for the plant in their city.
(Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton contributed to this report.)