Prestage Foods of Iowa: $300 million project

Massive pork processing plant is projected to go online this year with 50 trucks a day


Chad Thompson, The Messenger (IA)

Feb 11, 2018


EAGLE GROVE — More than 50 full-load refrigerated trucks will be traveling to and from the massive $300 million Prestage Foods of Iowa pork plant, 4 miles south of Eagle Grove, each day when it becomes operational less than a year from now, according to Jere Null, Prestage’s chief operating officer.


“As a single shift operation, which is the way we will start, it will be in excess of 50 trucks a day,” Null said.


Null said those trucks will come from outside companies.


“We have talked with a number of local and regional trucking companies to help supply that need,” he said. “We will not run our own trucks. We will hire outside firms to handle our trucking needs.”


Inside the 700,000-square-foot plant, 1,050 workers will be employed.


The development agreement between Prestage and Wright County requires that the company employ at minimum 922 workers.


A 2017 economic impact study conducted by Goss & Associates Economic Solutions, of Denver, Colorado, projects about 30 percent of workers to be foreign-born. It predicts 43 percent of foreign-born Latino workers will speak exclusively Spanish.


Plans call for one 10-hour shift, five days per week, and some Saturday shifts.


The lowest paid workers are to start at $13 per hour, while the average wage will be $15.71 per hour.


Average annual wages are projected to be $47,000.


The average annual income in Wright County is about $26,000.


The site of the plant was selected in part because of the estimated 6.5 million hogs that are marketed within 250 miles of the plant, according to information provided by Prestage.


The plant will be capable of processing 10,000 hogs per shift. About 600 million pounds of pork will be processed annually.


About 60 percent of hogs will come from existing Prestage farms in Iowa.


The remaining 40 percent will come from independent producers.


Prestage, a North Carolina-based company, has been operating in Iowa since 2004. It owns 145 farms in the state.


Fresh pork such as pork loins, pork bellies, Boston butts, shoulder picnics, pork tenderloins, baby back ribs, and spare ribs, are the main products Prestage will produce at its Eagle Grove plant.


The plant will not cook the meats. Prestage will sell to other companies who will turn the fresh meat into food for human consumption.


Up to 30 percent of Prestage’s products will be exported. The top export markets will be Mexico, China, and Japan.


The plant’s processes will be highly advanced, according to Null.


Wasted heat will be radiated through the floors to reach the pigs...


more, including photos