State-of-art pork plant
SIOUX CITY – Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey had high praise for Sioux City’s new $264 million Seaboard/Triumph pork processing plant July 13 as he capped off a two-day tour of northwest Iowa.
“Pork production is something very special and important to Iowa,” Northey said. “We’ve been the nation’s No. 1 pork producing state for maybe a 100 years now.”
Northey was joined by Seaboard/Triumph’s Chief Operating Officer Mark Porter and its director of community relations and government affairs, Irving Jensen, prior to a tour of the new 850,000-square-foot complex in Sioux City’s Bridgeport area.
“To be able to have this new state-of-the-art plant coming in means the future is very bright,” Northey said. “It brings with it a $250 million investment along with the added jobs.”
“It’s a wonderful thing to have in the state.”
Northey sees the new plant as a positive for the state’s pork industry, belying any concerns on the added operation in Siouxland.
“It’s right to have competition for our pigs, and there’s always an effort to modernize pork processing operations,” he said.
He expressed a similar reaction when asked about the proposed new Prestage pork operation recently announced for Wright County.
“Both give us new opportunities to grow the industry while at the same time offering consumers our quality pork products,” Northey said.
Porter said he sees room for everyone in the new pork processing picture.
“In our case we’re making a strong investment here in the community and providing a significant number of new jobs, putting the plant’s total employment figure at approximately 1,100 jobs with 900 of these hourly positions needed to process the run of three million annually.”
Construction is scheduled to be completed in July 2017.
“We intend to be a good community partner,” Porter said. “We intend to work with a lot of organizations throughout our community and to do business with additional vendors and pork producers and intend to bring a lot of business to the area.”
He said a large percentage of the hogs to be processed will be coming from owner-farmers in the area since the operation will be closer than other existing plants.
Sioux City Mayor Bob Scott said that “Triumph Foods, one of our parent companies, is owned 100 percent by hog producers. The on-farm producers are largely in Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri.”
Asked whether future plans might entail efforts to be associated with any current smaller northwest Iowa pork plants, such as Natural Pork Holding, which has a plant near Seaboard/Triumph, Porter said it’s a little early to be making those types of decisions.
“There’s been a long list of producers in the area we have contacted (as possible suppliers),” Porter said, “and it’s just a matter of time until we talk to others.”
However, he said no processing discussions are underway.
He added a large percentage of the pork processed in the Sioux City plant will be marketed overseas with other products destined for U. S. markets, such as those in the food service and, in some instances, the retail mail.
Porter feels confident that the export side will hold up and possibly grow still more globally.
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