Missouri’s governor describes the opening of Columbia’s massive Swift Foods plant on Route B as a wonderful day for Columbia, and a good day for the entire state.
Governor Mike Parson traveled to Columbia for Thursday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“The reality of it is that Columbia is just a growing community right now. I mean, you just think of the airport you put in, you think of the all the times we’ve been up here with Swift Food, everything where this has all started. And this is what it takes to be successful,” Parson says.
Company officials say the $200-million plant is the largest private investment in Columbia history. Parson spokeswoman Kelli Jones tells 939 the Eagle that the plant aims to hire 251 employees. The average salary for those jobs is more than $50,000.
Meantime, Columbia’s mayor is ecstatic about the new plant that’s opened near Como Smoke and Fire, along Route B’s food corridor. Mayor Barbara Buffaloe says it will help bring living wage jobs to Columbia. Mayor Buffaloe joined Missouri’s governor at the ceremony.
“You know this project solidifies our community’s standing in food manufacturing, compliments to other food-based companies. We’ve got Kraft Heinz, Quaker Oats, Aurora Organic Dairy and Beyond Meat, all who call Columbia and Boone County home,” says Buffaloe.
U.S. Rep. Mark Alford (R-Raymore) and Boone County Presiding Commissioner Kip Kendrick (D) also spoke at the bipartisan ceremony. Missouri Pork Association executive vice president Don Nikodim also attended, as did Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) director Chris Chinn and other commodity leaders.
The plant is expected to produce about 40-million pounds of meat products each year. Swift Prepared Foods president Tom Lopez, who traveled to Columbia for Thursday’s ribbon-cutting, tells the audience that it’s a historic investment in Columbia. Mr. Lopez also tells 939 the Eagle that they’re still hiring. He says Swift Foods wants to be the employer of choice, emphasizing they have great wages and benefits.
Swift owns Principe Foods, which operates the plant.