In a special board session held August 19, Prestage Farms was awarded tax benefits that had been promised on March 29 by the Iowa Economic Development Authority. The benefits came via the High Quality Jobs program because the Prestage plant is expected to create 922 jobs, of which 332 will receive a qualifying wage of $15.54 per hour.

The pork plant will create a $43 million increase to the payroll in Wright County, and will have economic benefits to the surrounding counties as well. More than 900 new full-time jobs will be created with the lowest paid workers beginning at more than $37,000 per year plus full benefits. Average wages at the plant are expected to be more than $47,000.

Local taxing authorities in Wright County can expect an influx of nearly $1.8 million annually for the first 10 years to help pay for schools and improve infrastructure. After the first decade, government taxing entities will receive more than $2 million annually.

Construction timeline

Construction is set to begin in the fall of 2016 with completion and first shift operations beginning in mid-2018, according to a press release from Prestage. Initially operating one shift, the plant will employ more than 900 people with a total capital investment of more than $240 million.

As for plant’s effects on the local environment and natural resources, the new plant will use air-scrubbing technology and incorporate a water reuse program, which reduces the overall needs for water and wastewater treatment. The plant will draw its water from a deeper aquifer than the surrounding community uses for their drinking water, thereby avoiding competition for water, according to a Prestage fact sheet.

The Eagle Grove Utility Board has engaged with an engineering firm to price and design a new wastewater treatment system for the town of Eagle Grove. The system will be large enough to treat existing town needs, new Prestage Foods needs, along with anticipated growth in Eagle Grove needs.