US – National Beef through its subsidiary, Iowa Premium, has discontinued the expansion of the Iowa Premium beef plant in Tama, Iowa a few months after the project kicked off.

It is speculated that the halting of the construction, which was anticipated to be complete by 2024, is attributed to the rising costs in the recent months faced worldwide.

Iowa Premium spokesperson Marcy Johnson hinted that the company will decide whether to resume the project later but will continue to operate its current facility with the capacity to harvest 1,300 head of cattle per day.

The expansion was implemented in 2021 after the state of Iowa committed US$14million to Iowa Premium to help it expand its Tama beef processing plant and add nearly 400 jobs.

Iowa Premium’s award was contingent on the Tama City Council approving a three-year, 100% tax abatement for the expansion.

In March 2021, the National Beef originally announced a smaller US$100 million expansion that would utilize the existing facilities.

 Since then, plans changed and the projects have evolved into an investment of over US$560 million and the construction of a new facility to replace the old one.

Iowa Premium intended to replace its current slaughtering and processing facility with a larger one, doubling its capacity to about 14,000 head of cattle weekly.

The company had plans to spend the US$561.9 million on the planned 800,000-square-foot plant, according to Iowa Economic Development Authority documents.

Additionally, the funding followed a 2017 report, in which Iowa State University economist Lee Schulz, wrote that the state has plenty of room for more slaughtering capacity.

One challenge the community and the company were anticipated to face during the Iowa Premium expansion progresses is the lack of workforce housing in the Tama-Toledo community.

This is after estimates in early 2021 showed roughly 25 percent of Iowa Premium’s workforce resided in Tama-Toledo, with hundreds more commuting in from larger population centers like Cedar Rapids, Marshalltown, and Waterloo.

National Beef Packing Company, which also operates facilities in Dodge City and Liberal, Kansas, is the US fourth-largest beef packer, harvesting roughly 10% to 11% of the daily volume.

Within the state of Iowa, the company’s competitors’ number among the other top meat processing operations, including JBS, Tyson, and Cargill.

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