Not everyone is pleased with the idea of a proposed $240 million pork processing plant near Mason City. North Carolina-based Prestage Farms said last month it expects to employ up to 2,000 people at its hog slaughtering facility, after it opens sometime in 2017.
But environmental watchdog group Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement says the need for thousands of hogs will mean more factory farms in North Central Iowa.
Group spokesperson Jess Mazour says the project will have long-term, irreversible consequences.
“How many more of these factory farms can our state handle? We continue to pollute our water, pollute our air, our rural towns, quality of life, property values, the negatives definitely outweigh the positives effects,” she says.
Mazour says CCI is not against creating new jobs, but believes government officials need to weigh the consequences of what it may take to get them.
“If we really want to make rural Iowa a great place and make sustainability on our farmland, we should be thinking not about vertical integration but instead propping up our small farmers who actually care about the sustainability of our land,” she says.
Prestage Farms already raises hogs at several dozen finishing facilities in the state, according to the company’s website. This would be its first processing facility in Iowa.