Prestage Foods of Iowa's proposal to build a $240 million 650,000 square foot pork processing facility in Mason City, Iowa, was rejected by the Mason City Council on Wednesday morning, according to The Globe Gazette. The vote was a 3-3 tie; a tie vote on a motion represents a loss.
The plan was to begin construction in the summer of 2016, hiring more than 1,700 workers, but citizens protested, citing concerns over the environment and quality of life.
"While we are disappointed, we believe in a bright future for agriculture and wish the people of Mason City all the best," read a statement from Prestage Farms, also a turkey producer.
During the City Council meeting, 63 people spoke, with 48 against, 14 for and one who did not take a stand, reported The Globe Gazette. The meeting ended at 2 a.m., having gone on for seven hours.
Prestage Farms said in a previous press release that the consolidation of the pork packing industry has decreased competition for live hogs and helped depress prices to hog producers. As a large family-owned, independent hog producer, the company said that vertical integration is necessary to protect its hog production investment in Iowa and elsewhere, and to create additional opportunities for independent producers in Iowa to maximize value for their livestock.