Seaboard Triumph Foods: Nearing completion

Pork processing plant to be up, running by mid-summer

-Submitted photo An aerial view of Seaboard Triumph Foods pork processing plant in Sioux City shows the facility nearing completion and ready to begin operations.

SIOUX CITY — The Siouxland area’s new state-of-the-art Seaboard Triumph Foods pork plant in the Bridgeport West Industrial Park south of Sioux City will be the largest employer in Sioux City proper.

This is according to Irving Jensen, Seaboard Triumph Foods spokesperson, concerning the anticipation of community leaders on the potential impact of the new facility.

Chris McGowan, president of the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce, said “Seaboard has put together an excellent facility locally.”

The company will have a tremendous impact on the tri-state region, he added.

“It wasn’t until the closing in 2010 of the John Morrell plant here that we began to fully appreciate its economic impact on the community,” McGowan said, “when considering the related industries it depended on and that were impacted by the closing.

-Submitted photo This ground-level view of a portion of the 600,000-square-foot building was taken in January. A company spokesperson said the plant will need about 800 employees to run the first shift, plus about 250 professional and administrative employees. More employees will be needed if and when a second shift is added.

“We will now, with the advent of Seaboard Triumph, have opportunity to see and benefit from the total impact of the new plant and its new opportunities for area businesses as well as producers.

“The plant will definitely be a power-maker and have a ripple effect in the community and surrounding area with regard to refrigeration and storage facilities, box-makers, the trucking industry and feed suppliers for the plant’s pork producers,” he added.

McGowan said information he has received from the company indicates Seaboard operations is anticipating hiring 250 to 300 professional and administrative positions with another 800 employees to be hired for first shift processing operations. That number will eventually expand when and if a second shift is created.

Additional personnel to be hired and the respective timelines include:

• Stockyards — June.

-File photo This is a view of the rendering area, with the kill floor and cooling area under construction during summer 2016.

• Maintenance and engineering-April and May

• Operations — March through May

• Hourly production — May through June

• Finance and accounting — April

• Food safety and quality assurance/lab — June

• Warehouse/shipping — February

• Integrated technologies — March

Seaboard Triumph said it plans to build relationships within the ranks of Triumph Foods’ producer-owners, Seaboard Foods farm operations and contract growers who will supply market hogs to the plant.

“Together, Seaboard Foods and Triumph Foods have aligned their farm operations and pork processing,” Jensen said. “This includes alignment for genetics, pig nutrition, animal care, food safety and product quality to ensure consistent, wholesome premium pork products to its customers.

“We will also be building relationships with other pork producers in the region that will align their farm operations, including genetics, nutrition and animal care, to supply hogs to the plant.”

Jensen directs Seaboard Triumph’s governmental affairs and purchasing in addition to community relations and communication. He said the 600,000-square-foot plant has incorporated state-of-the-art automation systems within its facilities in several areas of production, which are focused on worker and food safety, product quality and consistency.

“We also believe the overall layout of the facility to be a plus,” he said. “Live animals will enter in the south end, processing straight through the middle, with fresh and frozen pork shipping to customers from the north end.”

Proper human animal handling at the Sioux City plant will be a top priority, he said.

“Besides being the right thing to do, proper animal handling influences meat quality,” Jensen said. “The plant will follow the animal-handling programs in use today at the Guymon, Oklahoma and St. Joseph, Missouri plants, which are USDA-process verified for animal handling.

“All suppliers will be required to have current Pork Quality Assurance Plus certification. This certification provides a framework for significant, relevant food safety standards and improved animal well-being, and helps pig farmers ensure they can measure, track and continuously improve pig well-being.”

He said that, in addition to this, all hogs received at the plant will be delivered by Transport Quality Assurance-certified transporters with this program helping swine haulers, producers and handlers understand how to handle, move and transport pigs and the potential impacts of those actions on pig well-being and pork quality.

The plant’s stockyards will have licensed animal handlers to keep the pigs comfortable and calm, he said, in that only those with a current, valid animal-handling license will be allowed to move the pigs.

The license program that’s also used in the company’s St. Joseph and Guymon plants which include ongoing proper plant animal handling training and testing.

In addition, the plant will conduct daily plant audits to ensure proper animal handling. A humane carbon dioxide stunning system, which is essential in reducing animal stress and improving pork quality, will also be used, Jensen said.

Pork products from the Siouxland plant will be marketed and sold by Seaboard Foods and served on tables throughout the world The company currently markets and sells a full line of fresh pork products for international, retail, food service, and further processing markets to domestic markets under the PrairieFresh Premium Pork brand and international markets under the Seaboard Farms brand.

When interviewed in early February about any company concern of the potential impacts of current international trade renegotiations, Jensen said this is considered an uncertain situation not knowing what, if any, restrictions might apply.

“Seaboard Triumph Foods owners support programs and policies that reduce trade barriers and encourage market access,” he said.

Jensen said Seaboard’s current timeline for hiring employees as preparations continue for the mid-summer start-up will begin in March continuing through May for initial human resources personnel and from May through June for purchasing staff.

Seaboard Triumph by the numbers

• More than 1,340 Ready-Mix trucks delivered concrete used in the facility (13,400 cubic yards).

• Nearly 10 miles of plumbing in the facility (50,000 lineal feet).

• Nearly 38 miles of electrical conduit in the facility (200,000 feet).

• More than 236 miles of electrical wire in the facility (1.25 million feet).

• Roughly 2,800 tons of structural steel in the facility.

• Roughly 1,000 tons of steel deck and joist in the facility.

• Approximately 3,800 light fixtures in the facility.