Moon Ridge Foods cut the ribbon on its flagship processing facility in Pleasant Hope, Missouri. Moon Ridge Foods is a farm-to-plate operation that will produce, process and market pork products.

The 110,000 square-foot facility will process about 600,000 hogs annually once up and running, according to a Missouri Department of Economic Development press release. Production will begin ramping up in late August. Producer suppliers will use exclusive lines of the Duroc breed.

Approximately 30 percent of the pork produced by Moon Ridge Foods will be exported to new markets in Asia.

Jobs and funding

Activity at this facility will create 160 new jobs and represents an investment of $54 million over the next two years.

The project’s primary funding was provided by the founding owners and the local Bank of Sullivan. Additional funding came from Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing through Show-Me PACE.

To assist Moon Ridge Foods with its expansion in Missouri, the Missouri Department of Economic Development has offered an economic incentive package that the company can receive if it meets strict job creation criteria.

The Moon Ridge management team is led by former Tyson Foods and Swift executive Dave Weaver. Other team members have held management positions for Kraft Foods, Sara Lee, Excel, Columbus Foods, Seaboard Foods and Nestle.

Commits to community, humane treatment and environment

“We want to create a company that sustains families and communities, throughout the value chain,” said Russ Kremer, co-founder and CEO of the company in a press release. “It’s about farming and processing practices that are respectful to its workers, the welfare of the animals and enhance our natural resources.”

The company used mostly local labor for the construction of the facility, and wages and benefits for the new positions are significantly above the region’s average. Humane harvesting technology has been installed and humane handling and resting procedures have been implemented.

This facility will utilize snap chilling technology to boost shelf life, quality, processing and freshness while reducing energy use and its carbon footprint. In addition to energy efficiency technologies for production processes, the company plans to use renewable energy including solar and wind.