Idle Iowa Beef Plant Prepares to Reopen This Month

Iowa Premium Beef, a long-idle beef processing plant in Tama, Iowa, is getting ready to reopen later this month. The plant has undergone a $46.8 million renovation to prepare to process about 1,100 cattle a day.

Mnet 138954 Beef Plant Lead

TAMA, Iowa (AP) — A long-idle beef processing plant is getting ready to reopen in Tama later this month.

Iowa Premium Beef officials recently took reporters on a tour of the plant that had been closed since 2004, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports (

The plant has undergone a $48.6 million renovation to prepare to process about 1,100 cattle a day. If the business is successful serving food service, retail and international customers, production could double eventually.

The plant could eventually employ more than 600 workers. To qualify for $4 million in state tax credits, 120 of the workers will have to earn at least $15.42 an hour.

Iowa Premium Beef CEO Jeffrey Johnson says the company has already received more than 1,000 applications to work at the plant.

"We're really geared on making sure that we have a sustainable place where 600-plus people can provide for their families and their investors have a return on their investment and a community they can build and grow on," Johnson said. "As we grow, the community grows."

The company plans to sell about 70 percent of its beef domestically and export about 30 percent.

Some of the upgrades to the plant were completed to address environmental concerns and improve efficiency. Johnson said $7.5 million was spent on a new mechanical wastewater system.

"The investors and managers said we got to make sure when we go to market we're very conscious of environmental concerns, we're very conscious of food safety, we're very conscious about employee safety, also," he said.

The company also covered its wastewater lagoons, so it will be able to collect methane gas and use in to help fuel its boilers. Johnson said that system should reduce the plant's natural gas needs by about 30 percent.