Swift Prepared Foods’ application for tax incentives to build an Italian meats plant on Paris Road that would employ 251 people won the unanimous approval of the Boone County Commission on Thursday.

The company plans to invest $150 million to build a 275,000-square-foot plant that will begin production in the third quarter of 2022, Swift’s Matt LaFollette told the commission Tuesday when it held a first reading of a measure accepting the recommendation of the Chapter 100 Review Panel that the incentives be approved. It also plans a $35 million, 50,000-square-foot expansion of the plant in its third and fourth years.

The plant would be built on 80 acres at 5008 Paris Road in an industrial corridor that already includes Schneider Electric Square D, 3M, Aurora Organic Dairy and Kraft Foods.

Under the Chapter 100 incentives, the county and other taxing entities agree to abate 75% of Swift’s real property taxes over the next 10 years and 75% of personal property taxes for the life of each piece of its equipment, which ranges from three to seven years, Dave Griggs of Regional Economic Development’s Incentives Subcommittee said.

Over the next 10 years, Griggs said, the company will pay total property taxes of:

  • Nearly $3.2 million to Columbia Public Schools.
  • $213,747 to the city of Columbia.
  • $160,599 to the Columbia Library District.
  • $62,894 to the county’s general fund and $26,218 to its Road and Bridge Fund.
  • $59,533 to Boone County Family Resources.

The Chapter 100 incentives will spare Swift property taxes in the neighborhood of about $11.2 million over the 10-year abatement period. Griggs, however, noted Tuesday that the property where the plant will be built now generates only about $1,400 per year in total property taxes and said in an email to the Missourian that without the incentives Swift simply wouldn't be here.

Griggs said the impact of $185 million-plus being being spent in the local economy, along with the secondary impact of workers spending their wages locally, "surely warrants this 'public investment.'"

LaFollette said that once the plant is at full capacity, its workers will earn an average wage of $52,695, for a total annual payroll of $13.23 million. More than 150 of the positions will be production jobs that start at $16 per hour. He also estimated the plant would generate an additional 30 outside jobs such as sanitation and security services.

Swift Prepared Foods is a rebranding of Plumrose USA. The company has plants in Iowa, Mississippi, Indiana and Vermont and is preparing to open a ready-to-eat bacon plant in Moberly.

The Columbia facility would produce Italian meats such as salami, pepperoni, prosciutto, pancetta and coppa. LaFollette said the plant will produce minimal odor because such meats are fermented and dried rather than cooked. He also said that the plant will be energy efficient and minimize water use, and Swift will work with the city on energy conservation measures.

The plant, he said, will also incorporate lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and will be designed to allow for social distancing among employees.

LaFollette said Swift is making significant investments to expand its production of ready-to-eat prepared foods and plans significant expansions in its lunch meat and bacon production and distribution. It supplies protein products to both retail and food service customers. Its parent company, JBS USA, is the largest protein company in the world.

Swift plans to break ground on the Columbia plant in April.

Boone County Presiding Commissioner Dan Atwill, Northern District Commissioner Janet Thompson and Southern District Commissioner Justin Aldred all voted Thursday to approve the incentives after a second reading of the measure.

Atwill noted that it took months of cooperation among REDI, commissioners and Swift to put the deal together. On Tuesday, he said he appreciated Swift’s selection of Boone County as the site for the new plant.

“We’re very interested in having sustainable jobs and a clean environment,” he said, “and it sounds like you’re interested in that as well, so our enthusiasm for your participation here is high.”

  • I've been a reporter and editor at Missouri community newspapers for 35 years and joined the Columbia Missourian in 2003. My emphasis at the Missourian is on local government and elections. You can reach me at swaffords@missouri.edu or at 573-884-5366.

Recommended for you