Tyson Foods plans $300 million meat packaging plant — and 800 new jobs — for Utah

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SALT LAKE CITY — Tyson Fresh Meats, a subsidiary of Tyson Foods Inc., will invest nearly $300 million to develop a food production plant in Utah County that will initially provide 800 new jobs and is expected to expand to 1,200 positions within three years, the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development announced Thursday.

The project is forecast to add an estimated $27 million in new state tax revenue over the next 10 years.

The economic development office's board of directors approved a post-performance tax credit not to exceed $5.26 million over a 10-year-period and $300,00 from the Industrial Assistance Fund for last-mile infrastructure.

The proposed facility will be a 400,000-square-foot case-ready plant, which will take large cuts of beef and pork and convert them into steaks, chops, roasts and ground meat to be packaged, weighed and labeled on retail trays that are shipped and sold in grocery stores, explained Tyson Fresh Meats senior vice president Nate Hodne.

“We believe Utah is a great location because of the availability of labor and property and the access to highways and rail," he said. "Once built, the new facility will help us meet the growing demand for case-ready meat in the western U.S. From this location, we can get to every place in the West (by truck).”

The exact site of the facility has yet to be determined.

He also mentioned the educated population base along the Wasatch Front that would offer qualified workers for the facility, particularly if it is expanded in the coming years.

"We think (Utah) would be a good place for employees," Hodne said.

The Tyson Fresh Meats business unit currently has three case-ready plants, operating in Sherman, Texas, Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Goodlettsville, Tennessee, and hopes to open the Utah facility by 2021, he said.

While this plant will be the first of its kind for the company in the Beehive State, Hodne noted that a subsidiary of Tyson Foods briefly owned the assets of Don Julio Foods, a Clearfield manufacturer of tortillas, chips and pretzels. The company was acquired in 2013 and sold in 2015, he said.

GOED also announced incentives for two other companies.

• Tech firm Quick Base received a post-performance tax credit of about $1.26 million to expand its operations in Utah, adding an estimated 485 jobs and generating $6.2 million in new state revenue over the next five years.

Headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the company currently has 359 employees serving customers nationwide, a news release stated.

"Salt Lake City has become a vibrant technology hub with an impressive pool of talent, which made it an obvious choice as we looked for locations for our second office," said Quick Base CEO Rick Willett. "A second location in Salt Lake City and an increase in our headcount will help us to further serve our customers across the U.S."

• California-based specialty apparel maker Infab Corp. to expand its operations by adding 90 jobs in the Washington County town of Hildale over the next five years.

Founded in 1981, the company designs and manufactures radiation protection apparel and related accessories for healthcare professionals, such as lead aprons, protective eyewear, gloves and X-ray protection products.

“We searched throughout the U.S. for the best place to expand our operations but fell in love with Utah, it’s people and the opportunity to make a positive impact on the state and the community,” said Infab board Chairman Don Cusick.

“Anytime we can help a county diversify its economic base with the addition of a manufacturing project, it’s a good day,” said Theresa Foxley, president and CEO of the Economic Development Corp. of Utah. “When that manufacturing project lands in a rural community that’s striving to transform itself and bring good jobs to its residents, it’s particularly gratifying.”

Infab may earn a post-performance tax credit not to exceed $157,951 representing 20 percent of the estimated $789,753 of new state revenue, that can be earned over the five-year period.

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