Wright County leaders Monday unanimously approved the second reading of a zoning change from agricultural to industrial that will allow Prestage Farms to move forward with its plan to build a $240 million pork processing plant proposed near Eagle Grove. It must still pass on a third reading before becoming final.
Ron Prestage, owner of the North Carolina-based company, is pleased to see the continued progress despite some opposition from residents.
“The county supervisors are really working hard, trying to make sure that anybody who has a concern or a question or wants more information has a chance to do that,” Prestage says, “but try to do it in a civil manner that doesn’t get loud and doesn’t get ugly.”
The first of three public hearings was held in Clarion on Monday and drew 47 speakers, nine of whom oppose the plant. Another hearing is planned next Monday at the Wright County courthouse. Plans call for the plant to be complete by the end of March in 2019. Prestage says it will employ more than 900 full-time workers with a second phase that could add another 850 jobs.
Plus, hogs will be purchased from farmers all across the region. “Killing 10,000 head a day or 50,000 head a week, we have about 30,000 head a week of our own hogs,” Prestage says. “Those other 20,000 are all going to come from independent pork producers. If we did a second shift, that would be additional 50,000 head that would come from independent pork producers at some point down the road.”
Prestage Farms could get some $40 million in tax incentives, rebates and road improvements over ten years to locate in Wright County, if an agreement is reached.
(Reporting by Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)