A second production line is being added at the beef packing plant in Tama and the $100 million project should lead to “hundreds” of additional jobs according to a company news release.

Iowa Cattlemen’s Association CEO Matt Deppe said it’s a significant boost to the market for live cattle in Iowa.

“It looks like the project’s going to complete there and be ready to go at the end of 2022,” Deppe said, “so we’re really excited about it.”

According to Iowa State University estimates, livestock producers in Iowa sell about 6800 head of cattle every weekday, but the state’s three beef processing plants are able to slaughter just a quarter of those animals. It means Iowa producers are shipping cattle to plants out of state. Deppe said the closer a livestock producer is to a plant, the better.

“That’s absolutely one of those priorities that we’ve been looking at as we talk to producers whether it’s fed cattle or cow-calf operators,” Deppe said, “so we’re looking at it as a leverage opportunity.”

The Iowa Premium Beef plant currently processes about 1100 head of Angus cattle per day. National Beef has owned the plant since 2019.

The plant in Tama first opened in 1971 and was closed 28 years later by IBP. It reopened in 2003 with financing from the state of Iowa and local investors, but closed within a year. Production resumed in 2014 under new ownership.

(By George Bower, KICD, Spencer)