HogsMason City is in the running for an unnamed company to build a $245-million pork processing facility that could create up to 2,000 jobs over the next two years.

Chad Schreck, executive director of North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corporation, says there’s still a lot of work to do in moving the process forward, but landing a project like this is the next step for Mason City’s growth and development.

Schreck says if you look at Mason City’s history, the city was built on this type of industry as well as agriculture, cement plants and things like that. He says the city is very fortunate to have a very broad base of business, industry, agriculture and health care, and this would help to grow that.

If Mason City is successful in landing the facility, about 900 to 1,000 workers would be hired in Phase One of the project, with another 2,000 once Phase Two is complete. Schreck says it’s exciting to have a company want to possibly place up to two-thousand jobs in the community.

“It took about a month to wrap my head around that,” he says. “That’s the biggest component, that’s a lot of jobs, a lot of opportunity for a lot of people, and we hope it’s something that can be foundational for our community to help us to grow. We’ve had that steadily declining population for 50 years, as most rural communities have, and we see this as an opportunity to turn the tide on that and continue to progress in a positive direction, and help us take the next step as a community.”

Schreck says he was contacted by officials with the Iowa Economic Development Authority about the project because of the area’s relationship that’s been built with IEDA. He says they only identified a few places where such a facility could work & they were on the short list, he says.

“Frankly, that’s been happening more and more,” Schreck says, “and that’s a testimony to the community, our partners in both cities and the county, and our organization, my predecessor, a lot of people have done a great job of building up our reputation and giving us the credibility that we can do things, we can be that can-do community that the city’s been talking about.”

Schreck says this project is one of those “once in a lifetime shots” to boost the area’s growth.

“We’ve been incredibly lucky and fortunate with McKesson and several other great opportunities and this is just that next step where we can continue to build on that,” he says. “We see this as one more thing that we can grow on and build on and we’ve seen it. We have a lot of activity in the works and this is another exciting piece of that. We hope it all works out and that it goes through and that everyone is excited about it as we are.”

The unnamed company wants to build a modern, environmentally-friendly facility that will enhance the neighborhood it will be in. The facility would have an annual payroll of $44 million with jobs across the economic spectrum. The project would most likely be contingent on the approval of applicable state and local incentives being approved.

By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City