Prestage Foods economic impact study presented

Eagle Grove area community members gathered at Robert Blue Middle School on Thursday, March 23 to hear the economic benefits and costs of Prestage Farms to our region.

The study, produced for the Mid Iowa Growth Partnership by Goss & Associates Economic Solutions out of Denver, Colo., wasn’t about telling people whether Prestage Foods will be “good” or “bad” for the region, but rather to present the facts and let people draw their own conclusions and ask their own questions.

Within the 10-county region studied  in Iowa (Calhoun, Franklin, Hamilton, Hardin, Humboldt, Kossuth, Palo Alto, Pocahontas, Webster, and Wright), all but one (Humboldt) were among America’s Top 100 pig counties, as ranked by the National Pork Board.   This region alone produces 15 percent of the state’s livestock production, but has less than one percent of the state’s processing activity.  The addition of a process plant like Prestage Foods means that the region would see more profitable hog production because transportation costs would be reduced.  The report showed that savings would be more than $16,000 (including weight loss reduction of the hogs). 

The new plant would not only bring financial opportunity for farmers.  A chart showed the net benefit to taxpayers in this region during construction and the first year of operation alone would be $13 million (income of $45.7 million and costs for schools, police, fire, highways, as well as other state and local government spending at $32.7 million).
With this in mind, Goss and Associates compared the Wright County region to other similar regions who have seen the addition of a livestock processing plant to their communities in the past.  While they, too, saw an increase of employment opportunities and population, those regions also saw a rise in welfare and free/reduced lunch spending.

 

Other areas of impact reported on in the study included housing demand, spillover economic activity, and worker analysis. To read more about the report, see the March 30 edition of the Monitor.