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Ron Prestage weighs in

To the editor:

Since announcing our desire to build a pork processing plant in Wright County, we have received several questions and want to provide the public with answers.

What will the jobs be like and how much will they pay? In our new plant, there will be a variety of jobs – ranging from line workers to engineers, as well as accountants and managers. We will not use a temporary agency to recruit and hire. All people will join us directly as full-time employees, and will receive full benefits after their initial 60 days of employment. We will offer affordable family health care, overtime, paid time off, company paid life insurance, 401k matching and paid holidays.

Average pay is expected to be over $47,000 annually plus benefits, which is significantly higher than the current Wright County average of $25,000. The lowest paid workers in the plant will start at $37,000 [calculated: {($13 x 40 hrs)+($19.50 x 10 hrs overtime)} x 52 weeks per year] annually plus benefits.

Socially, what will the impact be to our community? Population growth of any kind brings challenges, but we will work with the community to use the two-year construction period to prepare for that growth. We are already in talks with Iowa Central Community College about offering employees training and continuing education opportunities, some of which may be on-site. We are working with the local hospital to offer employees on-site healthcare.

Will the plant smell? We cannot guarantee that our plant will never have an odor, but we can guarantee that we will implement the newest innovations to help minimize any odor’s occurrence. For example, in older facilities, the primary source of odor is from the rendering portion of the operation. In our plant, rendering will be in an enclosed facility and all of the air will be “scrubbed” before it is released, virtually eliminating odor. All wastewater will be collected in covered lagoons where methane will be captured and used as a renewable energy resource.

How will the plant impact water quality? While more expensive, we are choosing to access water from a deep well aquifer rather than the shallow well option as most residents, businesses and towns do in Wright County. We also plan to build and operate our own wastewater pre-treatment plant.

These decisions demonstrate our desire to have no negative impact on water quality.

We welcome additional inquiries and offer more information at prestagefoodsofiowa.com.

Ron Prestage, DVM

Prestage Farms

Clinton, North Carolina