Intermountain Packing recently filed plans with the city to build a meatpacking processing plant on the south side of Iona Road between Holmes Avenue and North 15 East. The project will consist of a 50,000-square-foot plant on nine acres of land with a total capital investment of $20 million. It is expected to bring 200 jobs to the city.
Bob Stirling, general manager of Intermountain Packing, provided the Post Register with new details on the plant, which he says will break ground in “the next few weeks.”
According to Stirling, it was the absence of any large meatpacking plants in southeast Idaho that got the ball rolling on the project.
“Intermountain Packing was formed because of a regional need to have a processing plant in southeast Idaho. Right now, there are not any large plants in this area. So most of the cattle are shipped out of state,” Stirling said.
Having a meatpacking plant in the area means the cost of shipping the meat will be lower for local ranchers and, more importantly, will result in less stress to the animal.
“Right now, many ranchers will ship their livestock to the Midwest for slaughter and that could result in a 12-hour truck ride. Anytime you can shorten that distance is much more beneficial to the health of the animal and the quality of the meat,” Stirling said.
Idaho Falls was chosen both because many of Intermountain Packing’s investors are from the area. Iona Road was the place that the city offered as the best deal.
“We looked at various locations in the area, but the city of Idaho Falls offered some good incentives and a package deal in order for us to build it where it will be on Iona Road,” Stirling said.
The plant will start small, processing around 100 to 200 head of cattle per day. After the first year, the general manager hopes to increase that number until it is processing 500 head of cattle.
The plant will focus primarily on cattle but will be built to handle bison as well.
“Bison required a little bit different design of the packing plant than beef cattle. So Intermountain Packing will be designed to process cattle and bison. So that will require much stronger corrals. They are very difficult to handle,” Stirling said.
Intermountain Packing is a separate entity with “no connection between Intermountain Bison and Intermountain Packing,” according to Stirling. However, Stirling acknowledged “there is crossover, there are people who are involved in both businesses.” Intermountain Bison is owned by Roger Ball.
“Intermountain Packing is owned by various investors. Some of whom are members of the Ball family, but it is not owned by the Ball family,” Stirling said.
The person listed as the applicant for Intermountain Packing’s economic development program application was David Adams, CEO of Intermountain Bison. The address listed as Intermountain Packing’s on the application is 3640 South Yellowstone Highway, which is also Intermountain Bison’s address.
According to Stirling, there has already been interest and excitement among local ranchers.
“We’re very excited to be starting this new business in Idaho Falls. We know it will be successful. There’s already been a lot of inquiries from ranchers who want to pursue a contract with us. We have already seen a lot of interest in the industry,” Stirling said.