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Iowa Premium Beef looks to August start up in Tama

To Employ As Many As 350 If Tama Pack Is Reopened

April 7, 2011
By John Speer, Editor •
TAMA NEWS-HERALD - “We’re out raising the second phase of the capital, $8 to $10 million,” Jeff Muchow, president of Iowa Premium Beef, told the Tama City Council Monday night. With that money, the Amber Capital group intends to reopen the closed beef packing plant on Tama’s east side, as early as August.

Muchow, of Overland Park, Kan., said he was only asking for initial cooperation on an engineering study for waste treatment for plant.

The packing plant and adjoining property was purchased by the Amber Capital investment organization in October, 2010, from Liberty Bank, which held title to the property after foreclosure following bankruptcy proceeds involving Iowa Quality Beef.

According to the online records of the Tama County Assessor, Amber paid $1 million each for seven parcels.

Muchow provided information which said Iowa Premium Beef was then organized in January of this year. He said he was then chosen to “lead efforts to restart the facility.”

“I’m asking for support from the city for their engineer to work with ours,” Muchow told the council. The council took no action on Monday night.

Muchow said lagoons at the plant would not meet Department of Natural Resources requirements during winter months for treatment of solids and control of ammonia. He said Iowa Premium Beef wants to work with Tama to explore possible use of the city waste water system during winter periods.

A total of $400,000 will be spent to dredge some of the eight lagoons on the plant site, he said.

He said the investment of anywhere from estimated $6-8 million would be necessary in the plant to build a totally new waste treatment facility. Muchow said this could jeopardize the financing of the entire project.

Under the operational plans, Muchow said Iowa Premium Beef would deal in “high quality beef” and kill 800 head daily and employ 350 workers when fully operational.

“We will focus on custom processing and ‘verified source’ cattle,” Muchow said. “(Markets would be) retail food service and international.”

He told the council flood damage in 2008 “destroyed” the plant’s electrical system and refrigeration equipment. However, “the structural integrity and condition of operating equipment is excellent” according to the material supplied.

Bill Smith, a Tama resident and former long-time city council member, questioned Muchow if government money was being Muchow for the start-up.

Muchow said some talks with Tama County Economic Development had been held but no applications for government funding had been made.

Smith said a Des Moines newspaper report Monday said a total of $10 million in state funding had been lost in the last operation. He cautioned the plant had lost government financing in some past ventures as well.

In other business Monday the council:

•approved filing plans and specifications and estimated cost totaling $409,000 got the 13th Street improvement project. Bids for the work will be due Wednesday April 27 with bid letting planned for May 2.

•reviewed job descriptions and compensation packages for the newly created public works director position and for city street and water positions. The City of Tama plans to take over its’ water and waste water operations on June 30 after 19 years of operation by Veolia Water, a private contractor. The council also approved purchase of a “Spectrophotometer” at a cost of $2,800. The device tests and reports on various quality components of water.

•accepted the resignation of Nathan Shepard as a part-time Tama Police officer

•approved outdoor service for the Fraternal Order of the Eagles club on May 21 and 22.

•approved modification of an ambulance service agreement which will continue to provide back up service to Chelsea subject to availability at a cost of $100 annually.

•approved the bids of Graff LLC for lawn mowing and grounds care at the Tama-Toledo Aquatic Center at the rate of $65 per mowing and for Graff to care for planter boxes in the downtown area for a total of $1,500; approved the bid of $25 per lawn by Doug Ray to mow lawns which have been left uncared for as a back up to the city crew when they are busy.

•approved an engineering contract for modification of a sewer lift station with Snyder and Associates, Cedar Rapids, at maximum estimated cost totaling $6,414.

•will consider a request from council member Robert Tyynismaa to donate cash for the purchase of prizes for the Positive Program in the south Tama schools.

•hired Michael Bly as summer help for the street department at $10 hourly.

Article Photos

Jeff Muchow, (left, foreground) president of Iowa Premium Beef, waits to field a question during an appearance before the Tama City Council Monday night as council members Steve Baier (left), Josh Youngbear and Mayor Chris Bearden look on. Muchow requested council members consider allowing a city-contracted engineering firm work with the IPF engineer on a plan for disposal of part of the waste the plant would generate if re-opened. News-Herald/John Speer



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