Proposed Prestage hog processing plant.

A comprehensive study will be presented in five northern Iowa cities starting next week about the pros and cons of a major new pork processing plant locating in the region.

Creighton University economics professor Ernie Goss says the research analyzes the economic impact of the 246-million dollar Prestage Foods plant that will be built in Eagle Grove.

“We’re looking at labor availability, what will it do to the roads?” Goss says. “What’s it going to do for livestock producers in terms of revenues, in terms of their costs? What about state and local tax collections? What about K-through-12 schools and the community colleges there?” Goss says his report to the residents will focus on the myriad ways the plant will impact the taxpayers in the ten-county area.

“This study was intended to show where there may be some benefits, where there will be some benefits and where there will be some costs,” Goss says. “You can’t do these business expansions without some costs, in this case, in terms of the roads, for example.” In addition to the sizeable construction workforce, the facility will need hundreds of employees to run it once the production line is operational.

“There’ll have to be new workers coming into the region with a 900-to-1,000-worker plant,” Goss says. “A lot of those workers are not going to come from the 10-county area. They will come from other areas of Iowa, other areas of the Midwest, and potentially from other nations.”

Construction is set to begin this spring and may take 18 to 21 months. Goss will present his report next Wednesday (March 22nd) at the Stanhope Community Center at 6 P.M., on March 23rd at the Wild Rose Casino meeting room in Emmetsburg at 1 P.M. and at Robert Blue Middle School in Eagle Grove at 4:30 P.M., with more presentations in Fort Dodge and Humboldt on March 30th.

(By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)