By DOUG SCHMITZ
SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Seaboard Triumph Foods announced late last month its $300 million pork processing plant will open in September, processing about 10,000 hogs per day and expanding to 21,000 daily in 2018.
“We’re drawing close,” said Mark Porter, Seaboard Triumph Foods CEO. “The majority of the equipment is installed. We are planning to begin operations no later than the first week of September.”
The 925,000 square-foot Sioux City-based facility – located in the city’s Bridgeport West Business Park, north of the Sioux Gateway Airport along the Missouri River and west of Interstate 29 – was scheduled to go online by July 31, but construction delays postponed the projected opening, company officials said June 19.
As one of the largest projects in Sioux City, the 258-acre site’s expansion will create the demand for further housing growth to accommodate new employees in the region, said Mayor Bob Scott. “As one of the largest projects in Sioux City, this expansion will create the demand for further housing growth to accommodate new employees in the region,” he added.
In May 2015, Seaboard Foods and Triumph Foods announced the formation of Seaboard Triumph Foods, a joint venture with equal ownership, to construct the new pork processing facility, which will employ approximately 2,000 people, including about 200 salaried and 1,800 hourly production positions.
With site work begun in September 2015, the expansion will also allow the company to produce a full line of fresh pork products for international, retail, foodservice and further processing markets. Seaboard Foods will market and sell the pork produced by the plant, company officials said.
Moreover, Seaboard Triumph Foods markets and sells fresh pork processed by Triumph Foods’ St. Joseph, Mo., and Seaboard Foods’ Guymon, Okla., plants to domestic markets under the PrairieFresh Premium Pork brand and internationally under the Seaboard Farms and St. Joe Pork brands.
Triumph Foods is owned exclusively by pork producers and Seaboard Foods is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Seaboard Corp. Triumph Foods and Seaboard Foods are integrated food companies, with farm operations and pork processing, controlling the entire process every step of the way from before the farm to the plate.
Company officials said if the two companies were considered as a single combined entity, they would comprise the second-largest hog producer, a top five U.S. pork processor and a leading exporter of U.S. pork. In February, the company announced it would add a second shift in May 2018, expanding its total workforce to around 2,000 workers.
“The timing of the expansion for a second shift is a result of growing demand for the Seaboard Foods line of quality pork products, as well as ongoing growth in the industry,” Porter said. “The support demonstrated thus far by our customers, community, city and state agencies simply gives us great confidence to grow right here in northwest Iowa.”
The Sioux City Journal reported a state economic development board in February approved an additional $3.3 million in tax incentives to help finance the larger investment. The action raises to $16.5 million the total state tax credits and sales and use tax refunds awarded to the blockbuster project since it was announced in May 2015.
The city also awarded an incentive package that included waiving $7.7 million in property taxes on the sprawling complex for the first five years, based on a scale that will gradually reduce the exemption, the Journal reported.