Long idle Iowa Tyson plant reopening under new owners

Published: Jan. 27, 2019 at 4:51 PM CST
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The Sioux City Journal reports that Iowa Food Group has hired about 35 people initially to work at the plant in Cherokee, Iowa, and plans to increase the staff to about 100 this year.

The company plans to process beef, chicken, pork and lamb slaughtered elsewhere and package it for retail.

Arkansas-based Tyson Foods closed the plant in September 2014, taking 450 jobs with it. Tyson held onto its lease and weathered criticism that it was holding the county hostage economically.

Iowa Food Group investor Mike Zimmerman said Tyson will be one of the companies that will send meat to the plant for processing, so the meat giant will maintain a connection to the facility. County records show Iowa Food Group paid $2.35 million for the Cherokee plant.

Initially, Iowa Food Group will only use part of the roughly 255,000-square-foot plant, but that means it will have room to expand when more orders come in.

"We were looking for a plant like this - this fits the bill," Zimmerman said.

Most of the company's management has relocated to Cherokee.

Bill Anderson, executive director of Cherokee Area Economic Development, said the plant's reopening "definitely is a shot in the arm to the city and the county."

"We lost residents because of the (Tyson) plant closing," he added.