CLARION, IOWA – Monday, the Wright County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a plan to build a pork processing plant just south of Eagle Grove.
The $240 million plant from Prestage Foods will snare upwards of $20 million in taxpayer incentives in total, including over $11 million from the state.
It is slated to be built 5 miles south of Eagle Grove, near Webster City and Fort Dodge. The plant will allegedly run one shift only and process 10,000 hogs per shift. A similar plant Prestage tried to bring to Mason City, however, was slated for 20,000 hogs a day after it was fully operational, according to plans they submitted. That plant was defeated in a contentious, divisive battle within Mason City due mostly to the antics of Mayor Eric Bookmeyer, who spearheaded the failed endeavor as the town nearly came apart at the seams. He ignited opposition who rose up and said “no”. He was accused by some of bullying during and after the dramatic saga as he blamed the city council for chasing the plant away, saying they “could not be trusted”.
Several public forums for this project were held in connection to this project in Wright county, which was only introduced several weeks ago before final approval after it was defeated in Mason City on May 3. Some traveled to the meetings to voice opposition, but in the end, the project quickly made its way through the approval process.
Prestage must employ 922 full-time workers in the hog processing facility on the Development Property by no later than January 1, 2020, the development agreement says, in order to comply with incentives. The plant will allegedly bring nearly $43 million in payroll to Wright County. Most employees will be paid about $13.00 an hour and then up from there. Many will be required to work over 50 hours a week.
Construction could start yet this year.