Ongoing speculation that Premium Iowa Pork would soon be opening a hog processing plant between Westby and Viroqua has been laid to rest after the company decided not to set up shop in Vernon County.
That’s according to representatives of the Concerned Citizens for Smart Growth steering committee members Gayle Nielsen and Kim Ward, who met with Premium Iowa Pork CEO Dan Paquin on April 9 at the former Driftless Meats building.
Paquin told Nielsen and Ward that the Lynch family has decided not to open a Vernon County location because the community is opposed to the proposed location.
Premium Iowa Pork, a large pork producer based in Iowa, purchased the former Driftless Meats property in 2016. The facility is located at E7342 Three Chimney Road in the town of Viroqua. Premium Iowa Pork, a subdivision of Lynch Provisions, owned by Gary Lynch, purchased the former meat-processing facility after it closed due to the unexpected death of the former owner of the facility, Doug Wolfe.
Since that time, Concerned Citizens for Smart Growth was organized and began telling people throughout the Driftless Region as to why operating a pork processing plant at the Vernon County location was not a good environmental fit. Representatives of activist group said their environmental mission was to protect the region’s land, air and water.
Concerned Citizens for Smart Growth set up an online petition signed by hundreds of people and asked local municipalities not to accept wastewater from a Premium Iowa Pork in Vernon County plant. The group also raised concerns about the development of larger hog farming operations in or near Vernon County.
Over the course of the past eight months, Premium Iowa Pork officials have been monitoring the situation and listening to the community group’s concerns. In return for not reopening the facility as a pork-processing plant, the Lynch family has asked the organization and the community members to use their connections to help them find a suitable buyer for the building. While the building has been vacant for more than a year, it has been maintained, and will be sold with the business name and all equipment. Interested buyers are encouraged to contact attorney Kim Ward at 608-637-2246 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.