Prestage Farms plans to press on with plans for a new pork processing plant. Veterinarian Ron Prestage helps run the family business which is based in North Carolina.
“Prestage Farms fully intends to pursue building a plant in Iowa,” Prestage said during an interview with the Brownfield Network.
The Mason City Council cast a tie vote on a development deal with the company earlier this week, rejecting the proposed project for its city.
“We’re going to be looking at a different location,” Prestage said. “We were contacted yesterday by several individuals interested in us looking at their towns.”
Dr. Prestage accused opponents of using “outrageous claims” to create negative perceptions about the proposed plant in Mason City.
“Iowa’s not immune to the fact that you’ve got some kooks out there that actually try to kill the absolute biggest strength that the state has. I guess we were naive,” Prestage said. “We’ll be a little bit better prepared to deal with those kooks going forward.”
Original plans called for having Prestage open its plant in Mason City by 2018, but securing a new location complicates the timetable according to Prestage.
“I don’t know if that’ll take a month or six months,” Prestage told the Brownfield Network. “My guess is we’ve probably missed the window of opportunity to get construction underway in 2016.”
Prestage Farms proposed a $240 million facility in Mason City and promised to employ 2000 people once the plant was open and processing pork. Members of the Mason City Council who voted against the project cited concerns about extra costs for the community, including the hiring of new school staff to teach the children of plant employees who do not speak English.
(Reporting by Ken Anderson, Brownfield Network)