The southwest Missouri community of Pleasant Hope is preparing to lose a major employer next month. Missouri Prime Beef Packers says due to “unforeseen business circumstances”, it plans to close on April 26 – putting about 335 people out of jobs.

Rep. Jim Kalberloh, R-Lowry City, said he hopes a solution can be found to keep those good-paying jobs.

“I feel for those 300 families,” said Kalberloh. “I also understand the impact of fresh water and clean water and doing that, so it’s kind of a thin line to try to walk and we’re just trying to make it good for both sides. There’s two sides to the issue. One being the workers and good jobs for people in that area. We’re weighing that, along with, you know, being prudent with what we’re doing to our drinking water, to our rivers, to our lakes. We’re just trying to work out a deal where both of them can coincide and to live and come to a peaceful conclusion.”

Rep. Mike Stephens, R-Bolivar, is also helping to find a solution for the community.

According to Kalberloh, Prime Beef’s wastewater plans led to the planned closure because the Missouri Department of Natural Resources did not approve the company’s clean water treatment proposal. He said he has faith in the state agency when determining whether authorization is given for clean water treatment efforts.

The affected jobs range from fabrication, to harvest, accounting, maintenance, and quality assurance, among others.

“Farmers from really all probably over Missouri, at least the whole southwest part of Missouri, benefited from them (Prime Beef) being there. Prior to them doing this, they would have to haul these, you know, maybe to western Kansas somewhere to a processor or maybe up north into Iowa. Not only is it going to affect the three or 400 there, it’s going to affect a lot of farmers,” said Kalberloh.

The company said the closure could be permanent or temporary.

Earlier story:

Missouri beef processing plant to close

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