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GUEST COLUMN-Prestage

By Staff | Jul 28, 2016

By GARY WOODLEY

Wright County farmer

On behalf of the Iowa Corn Growers Association and as a farmer from Wright County, I want to express support for a new pork processing plant coming into our state.

As the largest consumer of U.S. corn, the livestock industry represents a key customer and partner for Iowa corn farmers.

Iowa’s swine industry consumed 164 million bushels of Iowa’s corn last year.

Iowa, and more specifically Wright County, serve as an ideal location for a pork processing facility as the No. 1 pork-producing state and as a county at the heart of that production.

Wright County pork producers such as my son, have ample access to key feedstocks such as corn and distiller’s dried grains to produce high quality pork products and our state has the major packing plants to handle this production only making it good business sense to locate it here.

I raised hogs in the past, but got out of the industry due to the downturn in the market in the 1980s when there wasn’t local processing for our product. When many private pork producers closed their operations, it hurt the community.

The local trucking industry and feed-processing facilities dried up and it took us years to get them back.

Today, demand for our pork has never been better.

Iowa’s corn-fed pork products are exported globally and in many developing and emerging markets, meat consumption has never been higher. In fact, Iowa is the top state for pork exports.

We need in our state a strong livestock industry to support this demand and this includes having a strong meat processing infrastructure. Having this state-of-the-art, modern plant in our county will keep the value from processing our pigs in this state.

A total of 40,290 Iowans are employed in the day-to-day production of hogs. This does not include the jobs created by the suppliers, processors and handlers in Iowa nor the main street businesses that benefit from the purchasing power of those individuals to hold these jobs in the industry.

A processing plant will provide economic activity, tax revenue and jobs for Iowa, while also supporting Iowa’s agriculture industry.

For this reason, I am urging Wright County’s elected officials to consider approving this pork processing facility.

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