Ron Prestage (file photo)

The massive pork processing plant that’s under construction in north-central Iowa is approaching an important milestone, as winter arrives Thursday.

Ron Prestage, the CEO of North Carolina-based Prestage Farms, says the roof is nearly complete on the sprawling structure near Eagle Grove in southern Wright County.

Prestage says, “When we got started in construction, which was essentially early April of this year, the goal was to try to get to the point where we had the roof on and we were somewhat ‘winter proof’ to be able to continue construction once it did start snowing.”

The roof should be finished in a matter of days on the $240 million facility. Almost a year of work remains before the plant is ready to open, but that should be able to continue uninterupted once the roof is complete. One vital component to the facility’s success is water.

“We’ve got one well down and we’ll do the second well next spring,” Prestage says. “The well is 1,980 feet deep and it will produce something almost insane like 2,000 gallons of water a minute.” Prestage chose to locate the pork plant near Eagle Grove after Mason City officials rejected plans for the plant in their city. The facility will be one of the larger employers in the area and about a thousand people will work at the plant itself, not counting the host of supporting roles, like truck drivers.

“We have a lot of people, even though we haven’t really started advertising for positions, we’re getting frequent calls from people in north-central Iowa who are interested in jobs and interested in knowing what kind of jobs are going to be available,” Prestage says.

The completion of the Prestage Farms pork processing facility is set for late next fall, Prestage estimates about 11 months from now.

(By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)