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Prestage slaughterhouse in Wright county to employ robots

This news story was published on July 2, 2017.
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Pictured from left to right: Ryan Pudenz, General Manager, Prestage Farms of Iowa, Zack McCullen, Vice President – Swine Division, Prestage Farms, Inc., Dr. Ron Prestage, President Prestage Farms of South Carolina and Prestage Farms of Mississippi, Scott Prestage, Vice President – Turkey Division, Prestage Farms, Inc., John Prestage, Senior Vice President, Prestage Farms, Inc., and Jere Null, Chief Operating Officer, Prestage Foods of Iowa.

EAGLE GROVE – Robots will be used in the Prestage Foods slaughterhouse under construction outside Eagle Grove, a company official tells the media, potentially altering the number and use of employees at the plant.

Prestage Foods of Iowa, LLC has officially broken ground to begin construction of its new fresh pork processing plant, though no ceremony was held, the company said March 31.

“With the initial engineering complete, we are excited to be moving into the construction phase of this project,” said Jere Null, COO of Prestage Foods of Iowa.  “At the peak of construction, we expect over 600 people to be working daily at the site.  After construction, we will permanently employ approximately 1000 people.  We are proud to be investing and creating opportunities for the people of Wright County, the region and the State of Iowa.”

As the plant begins to take shape, new details are emerging about the operation.

Jere Null, Prestage Foods, in Mason City in 2016

KIOW radio reports that Null is now saying “plans to use advanced robotics for many processes” are in the works.  “Null said that the robots are expected to ease the burden on employees and improve efficiency,” according to the radio station.

The Charlotte Observer, via the AP, reported more in-depth about possible changes to uses of employees at the plant, saying:

“Imagine you take several frames of a carcass coming by and the computer can distinguish lean from bone from fat,” he said. “It can tell that robotic arm exactly how to cut based on what it’s looking at.”

Robotics will change the type of skills needed in employees, shifting the focus to electronic engineers who can help program and maintain the robots, Null said.

 “A lot of the precision cutting we are doing is moving towards robotics,” he said. “What would have previously been a laborious, back-breaking type job like holding a heavy saw and cutting and things like that can now be done by a robot.”

The company is working with Iowa Central Community College to create a workforce training program, Null said.

Prestage Farms currently raises pigs in over 30 Iowa counties, the company says on its website.  The new facility will support these operations and will use state-of-the art systems to clean the air, reduce water and energy needs, provide a safe work environment, and will utilize the latest innovations in processing and automation technology to help ensure that it is a world leader in food, employee, and environmental safety.  With construction beginning, the new plant is set for first operations in the fall of 2018.

Losers in the fatal Prestage debacle that will go down in infamy.

Prestage Foods was chased out of Mason City back in 2016 after a spectacle for the ages was put on display by the company and their tentacles that infiltrated city hall, the Globe Gazette newsroom and the Chamber of Commerce, consisting of  mouthpieces Eric Bookmeyer, Robin Anderson and other questionable characters.  Once the public discovered the potential ramifications of the plant and the nasty deeds being conducted behind the scenes, Prestage, Bookmeyer and the notorious Chamber of Commerce were dealt a humiliating defeat in Mason City.  The plant was quickly approved, however, 80 miles southwest in Wright county.


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44 Responses to Prestage slaughterhouse in Wright county to employ robots

  1. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 6, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Not to worry – your added taxes (TIF) for 10 years will keep them in grease along with your elected county officals.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      July 6, 2017 at 11:25 am

      TIF is not a ‘added’ tax, genius. TIF has no impact on an existing property owners tax bill.

  2. Former Mason City Resident Reply Report comment

    July 5, 2017 at 10:04 am

    When are the people of Mason City going to realize that after DECADES of no real growth, no new industry, no new money coming to town that the movers and shakers (Chamber of Commence) don’t want job growth in Mason City and the surrounding area.

    Competition for wages would drive up labor costs!

    They have been putting road blocks to job growth in Mason City since the 30’s and it is still going on today in 2017. Oh they will squeal that this is all baloney but the proof is in Mason City’s population. No growth in our population since the 50s.

    Pretty sad.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      July 5, 2017 at 11:44 am

      Not real sure you’re placing blame here where it actually belongs. There have been several job prospects brought to the table, but Mason City’s usual band of loud mouth curmudgeons and the alternative ‘news’ organization have chased them away with their child like tantrums at city council meetings.

    • Reality Check Reply Report comment

      July 5, 2017 at 1:02 pm

      Mason City is no different than other mid size communities in Iowa and in some respects far better off. Our vibrant west side retail environment is superior to places like Ft Dodge and we are the envy of many. While our downtown struggles, look whats happening in other places that are genuine ghost towns. We are planning and dreaming and working hard while others are doing nothing. We are a regional center of commerce for a 50 mile radius. Industry as we once knew it is gone and its not coming back.

  3. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 3, 2017 at 10:57 am

    More pie in the face for the curmudgeons of Mason City! The high-paying spin-off industries will go to another community. The instructors at community college to teach robotics and the tech the technicians who will maintain them won’t be cashing their large pay checks in Mason City.

    Soon enough, a large cold storage company (like cloverleaf) will be looking to locate a warehous near this plant too. Those jobs won’t be in Mason City either. Think of all the high paying industrial refrigeration techs that will be needed. They also won’t be cashing a check in Mason City.

  4. Just say no to piggy, piggy, piggy. Reply Report comment

    July 3, 2017 at 9:34 am

    At least the Ro-bots won’t be a bunch of America hating immigrants!!


    Mason City dogged a bullet.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      July 3, 2017 at 8:38 pm

      and Kuhn took the bullet for the naysayers

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        July 5, 2017 at 9:55 am

        Comment shows how stupid you are. Stupid is, stupid does.

  5. Carusoe's Island Reply Report comment

    July 3, 2017 at 6:32 am

    I still see Matt and Robin hooking up.

  6. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 3, 2017 at 6:28 am

    Hahaha hahaha so much for bringing all those high paying jobs to small towns.

  7. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 3, 2017 at 12:21 am

    Does NIACC have an electronic engineering program?

  8. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 3, 2017 at 12:18 am

    Our area needs a plant that builds the robots.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      July 3, 2017 at 12:22 am

      there isn’t enough intelligent people in Mason City to accomplish that task. Would have to import some smart humans for that.

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        July 3, 2017 at 9:09 am

        It is asshole tards like you that give Dem’s a bad name.

    • anonymight Reply Report comment

      July 3, 2017 at 12:40 am

      Why would any company go to the effort of even considering coming to Mason City with all the arm chair experts, school teachers, former mayors, and self appointed community bloggers who don’t know squat about economic development and would rather just bellyache about we should be getting this or getting that or no deal. A generation of current nitwits needs to fade away before MC will be considered a place that wants to grow.

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        July 3, 2017 at 9:33 am

        Nicely said. The attitude in this town plain sucks. A bunch of uneducated yokels that Only know how to piss and moan about others ideas but offer no solutions themselves.

      • MC Pants Reply Report comment

        July 3, 2017 at 8:35 pm

        Maybe citizens with to be a bit more picky. Everyone for the plant, was ready to jump on the first dick they saw. Businesses looking to build can appreciate a community with better taste than the town slut.

        • Kenny Reply Report comment

          July 3, 2017 at 9:48 pm

          Cripes, we can’t even have intelligent discourse in this town. I’d like to think a silent majority in town were open to this prospect of a new, large employer, but wanted better negotiation in the terms of the development agreement. But we couldn’t even get to that point of having intelligent negotiations because the normal band of loud mouth naysayers made a childish spectacle of the city council meetings.

          Trust me, there are no businesses saying that Mason City is a town with great taste (you literally made me LOL with that comment). Businesses will look at the last several development prospects that tried to deal with the city and immediately move right along to a more progressive city that wants to grow.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      July 3, 2017 at 11:05 am

      I can tell tell if you’re being sarcastic here. But I know there are many in this community who share a similar sentiment and don’t see the fallacy in this type of thinking. Here is the brutal truth that everyone needs to accept: Mason City does not have the workforce to attract this type of industry (high tech manufacturing). So you either have to accept the industries that are attracted to your community (food processing, retail, and distribution) or change the demographics of your workforce.

      The curmudgeons of this town (who essentialy set city policy by way of their child like antics at council meetings) have fought tooth and nail against food processing and distribution prospects and fight against any quality of life enhancing projects which would begin to skew demographics. This is why Mason City does not grow.

  9. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 2, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    Are they Hispanic robots?

    • Earl Turner Reply Report comment

      July 3, 2017 at 4:29 pm

      Illegals come from all races and many ethnic groups, not just from Hispanic countries. Just look at illegals held for ICE at Hardin county jail. A list of them is updated every few days at IowaNews thread. Don’t forget that Iowa classifies Hispanic criminals as White. Objecting to illegal immigration is not racist as it is whites being objected to. Liberals tell us Whites can’t be victims of discrimination.

    • Earl Turner Reply Report comment

      July 3, 2017 at 4:37 pm

      More evidence that illiterate illegals not needed. Remember that 8th grade is as far most illegals get. American students usually go to 12th grade or higher. It means dreamers have much better education. Send them home to improve their communities. Thanks to education paid for by Americans.

  10. economic winter Reply Report comment

    July 2, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    You mean to say, the 2000 or so jobs we were promised just might be a line of bullsit? That all along, they planned to automate the plant? Due to the fact that there is 3% unemployment in the state, the border is being shut down, and no one in their right mind wants a job in a murder palace? Is that what this story is saying?

    • anonymight Reply Report comment

      July 3, 2017 at 12:27 am

      Mason City lost out, you don’t get to bitch about what might have happened.

  11. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 2, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    Wow this should be good for the working sector – a obum would say these were jobs no one wanted to do – – Yea right! Hope the robots have a happy 4th.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      July 2, 2017 at 4:20 pm

      My God, you are such a freakin’ dumbass.
      It is always the same old bullshit with you.

  12. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 2, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Haha – the good citizens of MC took on all of the folks pushing for the plant and defeated them!

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      July 2, 2017 at 3:11 pm

      Yep, all those bullies that were against the plant managed to kill a person. And to think that Mason City has any good citizens is a reach, as most of them are egotists, racists, and hypocrites. They don’t deserve any state funding for any project in the future

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        July 2, 2017 at 4:09 pm

        Wow! You must be a Kool-Aid drinker aren’t you?

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        July 2, 2017 at 4:43 pm

        Uh the person that passed away was against the plant being built. The so called racist issue was proven not to be true by the releasing of the emails, So dude you are way off! So, since it appears you wanted the plant, you can still quit your job and go apply to work there.

        • Anonymous Reply Report comment

          July 3, 2017 at 12:29 am

          uh, the person that killed himself was for the project , but then he was bullied and harassed, day & night, to change his position after first supporting the project for several months. Get your facts in sequential order, fool.
          And I’m sure operating a robot would be quite interesting and would not require hard manual labor like we were told by the bullies against the plant. i.e. chris peterson and tom willett.

          • Anonymous

            July 3, 2017 at 12:37 am

            and don’t forget that idiot bob wolfram. he’s spent most of his life living off of someone else’s dime since he had that accident years ago when he was doing drugs. He was going around and bullying business owners to join his group against the project or else he was going to tell people to boycott their business. He’s a real piece of sh..

          • Anonymous

            July 3, 2017 at 9:52 am

            Get facts straight, uh his vote was no, what don’t you understand about voting no. You know darn well know the people who were bullying him, even his family knows.

          • Anonymous

            July 3, 2017 at 10:17 am

            To “get the facts straight”, the council worked on this for several months and years from what a councilmember told me. He was supportive of the plan until the council took it to the public then he flipped his support of the project, just like every typical politician. If I(or you) worked with a person who supported an idea or business venture that we had been working on for several months or years investing much time and money who suddenly flipped his support, I’d be pissed too. So he should have voiced his concerns before he did. He just led the council on for several months.

          • Super Geek

            July 3, 2017 at 12:06 pm

            The robots will actually have artificial intelligence so they will not need a human to operate it. The more the robots learn the less humans will need to be employed.

        • anonymight Reply Report comment

          July 3, 2017 at 12:32 am

          Racism most definitely was a significant reason for many who did not want a pork production plant in Mason City. Don’t even try to deny it.
          What emails are you talking about?

          • Anonymous

            July 3, 2017 at 12:41 am

            yes racism was promoted by those opposing the plant. The opposition were to stupid to know what is implied when they were using the term “those people” in reference to potential workers at the plant. That phrase carries the connotation of racism in all ways. but they will just shout louder in an act of bullying to drown out the common sense of others.

          • Anonymous

            July 3, 2017 at 9:59 am

            So you were ok with minorities to work at the plant right – might I notice a hint of racism? Oops your caught!

      • Rick and Dick Reply Report comment

        July 2, 2017 at 4:44 pm

        Eric’s demented alto-ego “Chuckie” typed that comment. We all know who the real killer is.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      July 3, 2017 at 4:17 pm

      To “I or you” – he still voted no, so he was against dude! This is just like that MST episode where the guard yells “the witch has escaped” but then Crow yells “well I let the witch escape”!