Construction on a proposed $92 million egg-processing facility in northern Iowa has been placed on hold because of a bird flu outbreak last spring.
Officials said Friday that the plant to be constructed in Thompson is on hold until further notice. The Forest City Summit reports that the plant was designed to create 197 jobs and process eggs supplied from new egg production facilities.
According to a statement Rembrandt provided to Winn-Worth-Betco, an economic development agency, "The company intends to re-evaluate their needs and finances once production ramps up, to determine a course of action and potential timeline for this project. But in the meantime, the project will remain on hold until further notice."
Rembrandt Enterprises Inc. announced the project in February, two months before the bird flu outbreak. Egg producers, including Rembrandt, killed millions of chickens in an attempt to stop the spread of the disease.
The company said the bird flu left it with about half of its normal capacity, and that it expects that it will take 18 to 24 months to regain full production.
The Iowa Economic Development Authority had approved $9.7 million in state tax credits and incentives for the project, but those funds have not been awarded.
Rembrandt had filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Dec. 9 to recover some of the approximately $4.3 million it says was pre-paid to a contractor for work on the facility. The contractor was later told to cease operations on the plant after the bird flu impacted operations.
Rembrandt spokesman Jonathan Spurway said the company could not comment on the lawsuit, citing pending litigation.