Authorities are investigating a fatal stabbing incident that occurred on February 16 at the Prestage Farms pork plant in Eagle Grove, Iowa.
According to a statement from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), the Wright County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a stabbing at the plant at 5:42 a.m., and the deputies who responded located a deceased person inside the employee locker room area in the plant.
A suspect, Lukouxs Brown, 26, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder and is in custody in the Wright County Jail. The victim has been identified as Wayne Smith 50. Both are residents of Fort Dodge, Iowa, and both were Prestage Farms employees. The two were acquaintances, but nature of the relationship between Brown and Smith is being investigated.
Prestage Farms announced its plans to build the pork plant in Eagle Grove in 2016 and it began production in 2019. As the construction of the $325 million plant neared completion in December 2018, the company was the recipient of the “Outstanding Business of the Year” Iowa Venture Award, presented by the Iowa Area Development Group at the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives’ annual meeting.
At the time, it was reported that the plant was expected employ nearly 1,000 workers and produce 600 million pounds of pork processed per year, 45 percent of which was expected to other facilities for further processing; 25 to 30 percent was to be sold in the international marketplace, while grocery chains, stores, and meat retailers would sell the remainder.
In addition to being a major pork producer, Prestage Farms, headquartered in Clinton, North Carolina, is also the 16th largest turkey producer in the United States. According to the WATTPoultry.com Top Companies Database, Prestage Farms slaughtered 140 million pounds of live turkeys in 2020.
In December 2020, while speaking during the Iowa Farm Bureau Annual Meeting Webinar Series, Prestage Farms President Ron Prestage said the company was considering building a new turkey plant in South Carolina.