The owners of a company that wants to build a massive pork processing plant in Iowa are looking at multiple Iowa communities after the project failed to win approval in Mason City last month.
Ron Prestage, president of Prestage Farms, says he’s gotten interest from nearly 20 other Iowa cities and is giving each of them fair consideration.
“We had 19 communities in Iowa that contacted us after the Mason City vote,” Prestage says. “We’ve gotten through eight or nine of those communities that we have looked at their sites. We intend to look at all of the sites where people have expressed an interest in talking to us about locating the plant there.”
Prestage says there are several Iowa communities that look to be a good fit for their project, but that they want to avoid the opposition they faced in Mason City by the activist group Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. “We’ve already seen some sites that appear to be very attractive,” he says. “We’ve made it very clear to everybody that we do not want to see a repeat of what occurred in the circus in Mason City. The Mason City people we were dealing with were very, very professional and respectful. We really are unhappy about how that got somewhat hijacked by ICCI.”
Prestage says for the most part, his company has gotten a good reception from Iowa officials, and that’s part of the reason the state is the company’s first priority for the processing plant.
“We’ve been treated very well in Iowa by the state government and all of the regulatory agencies we obviously have to deal with,” Prestage says. “If possible, we would prefer to build this plant in Iowa and I’ve been very honest with the adjoining states that have expressed an interest in the plant as well.”
The North Carolina-based Prestage Farms pork processing facility is a 240-million-dollar project that would employ up to 2,000 workers and process 10,000 hogs a day.
By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton