A feature article last week in The Des Moines Register highlighted the economic boom in north central Iowa propelled by the new Prestage Food pork plant near Eagle Grove. An interesting read, but not surprising.
The Prestage plant, which opened in March, has already hired some 500 people and is still ramping up. As the article noted, the new plant has spurred a housing construction boom in Eagle Grove and nearby communities. It is creating work and jobs in related businesses, such as trucking and warehouses. The added jobs have meant more kids in schools and new life on area main streets.
Farmers have also benefited. The Prestage plant, which buys some 40% of its hogs on the open market, has boosted demand and prices for local hogs and for corn to feed them. Increased hog demand also provides a great vehicle for young people to get a foothold in ag.
The economic growth is exciting, but it’s occurring pretty much as Prestage executives, local officials and area farmers said it would back in 2016, when the plant was first proposed in the Eagle Grove area.
Supporters of the plant told county officials back then that the plant made perfect sense for the area with an abundance of corn, hogs and, most importantly, strong family farms that are some of the world’s best at raising crops and livestock while caring for the environment.
Those solid arguments overcame the protests of naysayers, who had worked to keep Prestage from building anywhere in Iowa. Iowa is better off today because they did.