"We're a long way from getting things started out there," Steve Armstrong president of Iowa Premium Beef, said last week. He was referring to the closed beef packing plant at Tama, best known as Tama Pack.
But when it is opened Armstrong said the plant "will be the only true processing facility of any size in Iowa."
He was speaking at a Tama County Economic Development "Pitch and Build" competition on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at the Reinig-Toledo Civic Center.
A total of 30,000 cubic yards of soil is being relocated from private land east of the Tama-Toledo Family Aquatic Center to a construction site south of the Iowa Premium Beef plant on Tama’s east side. Trucks are shown being loaded on Wednesday, Nov. 14, on the site. News-Herald/John Speer
"The investors have done a lot of research and have a solid business plan to start with," he said.
Heath Kellogg, Tama County Economic Development executive director, told The News-Herald the investor is numerous and is growing.
Armstrong termed "premature" an announcement made earlier this year the plant would open as soon as June of 2012.
Instead, he said the investors "have recruited a good management team to help evaluate the plant and make sure it's capable of (accomplishing) the goals."
Accompanying Armstrong Tuesday were Dean Hanish, CSO, and Jeffrey Johnson, director of operations.
All three have extensive backgrounds in meat packing management.
When the plant is operational he said an initial 800 head a day kill is foreseen with 450-500 meatpackers employed.
"With more remodeling we expect to move into phase two with 2,200 head daily and then have close to 1,000 employees," he said.
Armstrong said a state-of-the-art waste water treatment facility was planned on site rather than any attempt to use the City of Tama system.
Dirt was being moved from a privately-owned site east of the Tama-Toledo Family Aquatic Center to the planned treatment plant location last week.
Armstrong said a total of 30,000 cubic feet of dirt was being trucked to the site for the project to begin in the spring. This is the rough equivalent of 1,500 tons of dirt.
He said a new roof has been put in place on the plant.
He said details of a sales and marketing plan is not finalized but "a lot of work has been done."