A United Kingdom investor wants to build a meat processing and hog breeding facility in Mississippi, according to a report in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. The company, Labeth Products has offices in East Point, Ga.

The money– estimated at $1.47 billion– would come from Grange Trust, located in the UK. One objective is to build a pork- and beef-packing and processing plant. The company also wants to build a swine breeding farm that includes 1,000 hog barns with 7,500 animals in each one, according to the company's plans. A cooperative comprised of 1,000 area cattle producers would provide 1 million cows to the plant.

Monroe County, located in north-central Mississippi, is the targeted site. Estimates suggest the project would employ 8,500 people.

Of course Labeth needs local approval for the project. According to Ed Harrison, a company spokesperson, if it fails there are nine other U.S. locations and one in Canada in the running. Construction would take two years.

He said the federal government would be the primary customer at first, with additional products shipped to Africa and Asia. The company also hopes to work with Sara Lee Corp.

Despite planned on-site waste treatment and disposal systems, odor and water quality issues are among the area residents' concerns.

Rick Evans, a livestock specialist with Monroe County Extension Services Center, noted that state has about 557,000 head of cattle, and he doubted Mississippi cattle producers could raise the 1 million head needed for the plant.

Evans also told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal that he was wary of the Labeth project turning into another Mississippi Beef Processors, which was a $43.5-million state-funded packing/processing plant that closed earlier this year, just months after opening.

Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal