The Iowa Economic Development Authority Board voted 8-1 to approve about $11.5 million in state incentives for Prestage Farms, which plans to build a pork processing facility in Wright County. To qualify for the state incentives, Prestage has committed to create a minimum of 922 full-time jobs, reports the Des Moines Register. At least 322 of those positions must pay at least $15.54 per hour.

Wright County is also considering $8 million in local tax breaks, about 30 percent of Prestage's $2.7 million annual property tax bill, officials there have said. The state incentives are contingent upon local approval of Wright County's incentive package.

Prestage Farms originally planned a plant in Mason City, but many of the town’s residents objected, leading the city council to eventually reject the proposal. Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, a group that opposed the Mason City plant, also helped organize opposition to the Wright County facility. The 8-1 vote from the board came in spite of opposition members in the audience, who shouted “Shame on you” after the proposal passed.

IEDA created a special meeting to allow more than its usual 10 minute public comment period. Thursday's meeting included more than an hour of public comments. All told, 23 people voiced opposition to the project and 10 spoke in support. Local officials were among those supporting the project, citing the plant as a way to bring economic growth to the area.

Source: Des Moines Register