MASON CITY, Ia. — An overflow crowd turned out for a City Council meeting last May 3 in anticipation of a final vote for construction of a $240 million, 600,000-square-foot pork-processing plant on Mason City’s southwest side. Processing up to 10,000 pigs a day, it would be the state’s second-largest of its kind.
State and local officials stood ready to welcome it with generous subsidies. Realtor Dick Mathes addressed the council in favor, citing job losses and Prestage Foods' promise to add up to 2,000 jobs in four years. But the 14 supporters there to speak were outnumbered by 47 opponents, who voiced concern over the plant’s potential impact on health, the environment and the community, especially if a concentration of hog confinements followed. Read more