North Carolina-based pork and turkey processor Prestage Farms announced the formation of a new company, Prestage Foods of Iowa, LLC and the proposal for a new $240 million pork processing plant.

“We are excited to take the next logical step by building a new high tech pork plant in Mason City, IA,” says Ron Prestage, DVM, on behalf of the Prestage family. “We see this as an opportunity to secure the future of our family business, its employees, and our contract growers, whether they are in the Carolinas, MS, OK, TX, or IA. We have been impressed with the help and support provided by local and state officials, the Iowa Pork Producers Association, NPPC, and the National Pork Board. We have always believed that our family and employees must be engaged in the communities in which we operate and the industry we represent. Having produced market hogs in Iowa for the past dozen years, we believe Mason City is the right place for us to strategically build this new plant.”

The proposed 650,000-sq.-ft. facility will operate one shift, killing 10,000 hogs per day, and employ as many as 1,000 people with future expansion possibilities to accommodate a second shift. Prestage says the plant will utilize the latest innovations in processing and automation technology. Construction is set to begin, pending finalization of state permits and approvals, in the summer of 2016 with operations beginning mid-2018.

Company officials say they made the decision after seeing that the consolidation of the pork packing industry has decreased competition for live hogs and helped depress prices to hog producers. The company says it sees the need to construct this facility increasing competition and maximizing the value of all hogs produced in the United States.

Prestage is a multi-generational family-owned and operated business employing more than 2,000 people and producing more than one billion pounds of meat annually.