A proposed $240 million pork processing plant in Mason City, Iowa will include a buffer zone and payments to the local school district. The Des Moines Register reports that Prestage Farms will not build, operate any hog confinements or buy animals from a facility within a 2.5 mile buffer zone around Mason City, Clear Lake and the lake itself.

"The city's most pressing concern, as it relates to the proposal, was the potential introduction of confinement operation facilities in proximity to the lake watershed," said Scott Flory, Clear Lake City Administrator. "Prestage Farms' willingness to respect the city's concerns is very helpful and appreciated."

The company has also agreed to pay the Mason City School District $1.4 million over a 10-year period to help the system address potential growth.

The Mason City Council approved the terms of the development agreement on April 5. At the meeting, more than 20 residents spoke in favor of the planned plant, and more than 30 spoke against it, citing environmental issues, property values and population growth as concerns. A public hearing and vote on a development agreement has been scheduled for May 3.

Source: Des Moines Register