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New Food Processing Company Prepares To Reopen Northwest Iowa Tyson Plant

tyson_cherokee_sept_2018.jpg
Katie Peikes/IPR file
Iowa Food Group will open for business sometime in January.

The company that bought the idled Tyson Foods plant in northwest Iowa aims to open for business early in 2019.
Iowa Food Group will further process and package beef, pork and chicken at the Cherokee County plant. They’ll take large cuts of those meats and turn them into things like slicing steaks and grinding hamburger meat.

The products will serve a variety of customers and industries, including food retail and service.

The company received around 400 job applications, mostly from people who live in Cherokee County. Bill Anderson, the executive director of Cherokee Area Economic Development, says residents are excited to have a new opportunity.

“We have a number of folks, hundreds of people, that leave Cherokee County every day to go to work outside of the county, so I think for citizens of Cherokee County this is an opportunity to find employment closer to home,” Anderson said.

Mack Zimmerman, one of the partners and general counsel of Iowa Food Group, says he was confident there would be a lot of interest in the jobs after the county’s largest employer left the area. Tyson employed around 450 people in Cherokee before it closed in 2014.

“Especially those that had experience at the plant before and what-not. In that regard, we didn’t have a lot of concern that we’d have good employees,” Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman says Iowa Food Group has already hired staff for its front office and sales. It will soon start the process of hiring and training workers at the plant.

And although Tyson has left the area, Zimmerman says his company will still have a relationship with them.

“We’ll be a customer of theirs, which is a win-win,” Zimmerman said.

Iowa Food Group plans to launch its operation between mid and late-January. Zimmerman says the company is putting equipment in place, making some remodeling changes to the plant's interior and making sure everything runs smoothly.