JBS USA began a $20 million expansion to its Ottumwa, Iowa, facility by hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony on October 23rd, according to the Ottumwa Courier. The expansion will increase capacity in the bacon division, adding six new production lines, a new smokehouse and create 25 new jobs at the facility.
“We’re thrilled about this expansion — what it means for us, and what it means for [Ottumwa],” said Tom Lopez, president of JBS’s prepared foods division. “It just makes me hungry for more bacon.”
Lopez told the Courier that unlike other grocery store commodities, bacon sales continue to grow at 3-4 percent annually, which justifies the cost of the plant expansion.
“This expansion really allows us to supply that increase in demand,” Lopez said. “We’re most excited about the benefit of continuing to bring jobs and employment here to people in Ottumwa. They’ve been the lifeblood of our company here.”
Plans for the expansion were first announced in February, with an anticipated completion of September 2019. The Ottumwa facility, built in 1976, produces 6 million 8-oz. servings of pork per day and more than 1 billion pounds of fresh pork and bacon products per year.
The project is now projected to be complete in spring of 2020.
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