After weighing the advantages, the company selected northwest Iowa. On April 15, 1982, (CEO Bob) Peterson announced that IBP was buying a Hygrade Pork plant in Storm Lake, Iowa for $2.5 million. The company had little interest in much of the actual facility - originally built in 1953 - but the location was ideal. After stripping and reconfiguring the facility, Peterson projected the plant's capacity at 1.5 million hogs a year. An additional shift would later double that figure.
"It has been a long walk for some, and a fast trot for others, but with Iowa Beef getting into the pork business, it's going to be a quick gallop," Peterson said at the press conference.
He was joined by then-Storm Lake City Administrator Clarence Knepps, who said, "It will be a very good marriage for a long, long time. Let's go on the honeymoon." The towns-people had even gathered petitions with 7,700 signatures inviting IBP to the city.
Iowa Governor Robert Ray, also in attendance, said, "We are always pleased to work with and encourage companies on plant sitings and expansions to create jobs for Iowans, but this decision by Iowa Beef Processors to take over and reopen a large slaughtering operation is particularly important because it comes at a time when jobs are in short supply."
"Peterson said the company will be spending from $150 to $175 million a year for hogs from livestock producers in the area," reported the local Storm Lake Register. "According to IBP, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates there are about 17.5 million hogs marketed annually within a 150-mile radius of Storm Lake, which is one of the largest pork-producing regions in the nation."
Read the rest of this article in the 9/21 Pilot Tribune