Prestage’s pork processing plant means dollars, jobs; Fort Dodge expected to see highest population increase

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson

Ernie Goss, economist, talks about the impact that the Prestage pork processing plant will have on the 10 county region encompassing Fort Dodge during an economic impact study presentation inside the BioSciene and Health Auditorium at Iowa Central Community College Thursday morning.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Ernie Goss, economist, talks about the impact that the Prestage pork processing plant will have on the 10 county region encompassing Fort Dodge during an economic impact study presentation inside the BioSciene and Health Auditorium at Iowa Central Community College Thursday morning.

CHAD THOMPSON

Prestage Foods of Iowa’s incoming multi-million-dollar pork processing plant could fuel a resurgence in north central Iowa communities, which have lagged behind the rest of Iowa and the United States in terms of growth, according to a study by Goss & Associates Economic Solutions, of Omaha and Denver, Colorado, that was unveiled Thursday morning.

Webster County, and more specifically Fort Dodge, may see the largest increase in population after one year of operations at the Prestage plant, which will be located five miles south of Eagle Grove, according to the study.

The study, based on economic databases and U.S. Census figures, forecasts an increase of 2,103 people in Webster County, 1,253 people in Hamilton County, and 1,188 in Wright County after construction and one-year of plant operation.

“More of the new workers, at least in the early years, will be located in Fort Dodge,” Ernie Goss said.

Goss presented the findings of the recently released study inside the BioScience and Health Building auditorium at Iowa Central Community College.

About 150 people attended the presentation. Among them were health care professionals, law enforcement officials and members of the farming community.

The study accounted for 922 employees, the minimum number of employees Prestage will hire. The plant could, however, employ as many as 1,000 workers when it opens.

The analysis encompassed 10 mid-Iowa counties: Calhoun, Franklin, Hamilton, Hardin, Humboldt, Kossuth, Palo Alto, Pocahontas, Webster and Wright.

The addition of a facility like Prestage is one way to help reverse decreasing population trends in rural Iowa, according to Goss.

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