Iowa to get new pork processor
By JOLENE STEVENS
SIOUX CITY – As Sioux City and Iowa are completing the financing for a new $264 million pork processing plant, state pork producers are voicing their support for the new project.
Construction of a state-of-the-art facility, a joint venture of Triumph Foods, of Sioux City, and Seaboard Foods, of St. Joseph, Missouri, is expected to begin this fall and be operational by summer 2017.
The facility will be in Bridgeport West Industrial Park, south of Sioux City.
The new plant is expected to create 1,100 new jobs and initially operate with a single shift processing 3 million hogs annually.
“The project shows that those in the Siouxland and northwest Iowa area recognize Iowa as a strong leader in pork production,” said Iowa Pork Producers Association President Dave Struthers, of Collins. “Triumph and Seaboard will be providing us with an additional market for our hogs.
“Any time such an opportunity exists, the competition is good for us as producers bid up our prices.”
Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said, “Sioux City has a long and distinguished history in the meatpacking industry and the recent announcement of a new $264 million pork plant is great news for the community and farmers in the area.
“The pork industry is vitally important to our state’s economy and this state of the art facility will help the industry remain strong and continue to grow.”
Bill Tentinger, of Le Mars, a farrow-to-finish producer and past president of IPPA, agrees. “It’s a great addition,” he said “a very positive one for us as producers and a prime example of the importance of our industry in the Midwest.
As Sioux City representatives share the benefits of new jobs, the root of it comes back to the pork industry.
“If we didn’t have the number of hogs we do in our area,” Tentinger said, “the opportunity for this kind of facility wouldn’t exist.”
He expressed gratitude to Sioux City Mayor Bob Scott and staff for understanding the economic benefits to come with the project.
Tentinger said he’s confident Iowa producers will be able to supply an adequate number of hogs for the plant, saying he’s aware of a lot of new hog barns going up in northwest Iowa, adding to the local supply of hogs.
Numerous studies by Sioux City and state officials examined the area’s long-term hog supply.
Hogs from northwest Iowa are already being shipped to the St. Joseph plants operated by Triumph and Seaboard Foods, Tentinger said.
“It takes upward to $1,000 to ship a semi-load of hogs this distance,” he said. “But bids there have been good for the hogs we produce, and you’ll see a lot of trucks leaving the area headed south on I-29.”
Chris Benson, director of the applied agriculture and food studies program at Sioux City’s Morningside College, said he anticipates a ripple down effect when new plant begins operations.
These include an increase in demand for local hogs, plus potential internships and career doors opening for Morningside ag students.
In their May 14 announcement, Seaboard Foods and Triumph Foods said the plant will process a full line of fresh pork products for international retail, plus process products for their plants in Oklahoma and Missouri.
“When we started inquiring about expanding our business,” said Mark Campbell, chief executive officer for Triumph Foods, “we recognized the strong commitment and willingness to welcome Triumph Foods and Seaboard Foods to (Sioux City).
“Local leaders have built a business environment poised to bring growth to the region. We look forward to the new pork processing facility being part of that growth and its staff being actively involved in the Sioux City community.”
Marty Dougherty, director of economic development for Sioux City, said the new plant points to how Sioux City ranks as a leading destination for the food processing industry.
Sioux City leads the state, he said, in food production numbers and pork exports.
Additional agriculture-related businesses in Sioux City with nationally recognized markets include Jolly Time Pop Corn and Sue Bee Honey.
Seaboard Foods and Triumph Foods own Daily’s Premium Meats that has bacon processing plants in Salt Lake City and Missoula, Montana, plus a third plant under construction in St. Joseph, Missouri.
“Our announcement marks another step in strengthening our business partnership and position as a leading integrated food system, said Terry Holton, Seaboard Foods president and CEO, “providing customers domestically and throughout the world with premium pork focused on the highest standards for food safety and pork quality consistency.
“We look forward to the new opportunities the plant will bring to our customers as well as the Sioux City region.”
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