Partnershipsprove golden

Partnerships work.

A case in point would be this week’s announcement that Kansas City Sausage LLC will develop a state-of-the-art production plant here in Sampson County, bringing with it a taxable investment of nearly $45 million and 177 new jobs, 164 of those in 2016. Those jobs, industry officials have said, will come with an average annual wage of $31,905.

Everyone involved in wooing the company into our community fold attests to the strength of those partnerships as the reason we were fortunate enough to win Kansas City Sausage’s favor. The partnership was a significant one, with local, regional and state leaders at the table with industry leaders.

It is those partnerships which made the difference. In April, the Sampson County Board of Commissioners approved a performance-based grant back incentive package of $823,308 for the first five years of the plant’s operation. The county should retain that same amount in new property tax revenues.

The Independent reported just last week on the receipt of two grants totaling $1 million — $500,000 grants from the N.C. Rural Infrastructure Authority and Community Development Block Grant-Economic Development — seen as instrumental in Kansas City Sausage’s decision.

The project is a 50/50 joint venture partnership between Kansas City Sausage, LLC, which has operations in Kansas City, Mo., and Des Moines, Iowa, and Smithfield Foods, Inc., a global food company with existing operations in Sampson County. The Independent’s story on the announcement indicated that the partnership capitalizes on the strengths of each company in their individual business sectors as well as the region’s position as a national leader in swine production.

The 90,000 square foot comprehensive operation — from live animal harvest through finished product shipping — will include a hog slaughtering plant that will process between 700 and 1,000 hogs per day, as well as a pork sausage processing plant which would annually produce 50 million pounds of finished product.

We concur with Board of Commissioners chairman Billy Lockamy who said, “The initiative, drive and dedication of economic development, public works, management, legal and finance staff provided us an opportunity to marry our agricultural resources with a company who could benefit from them. Our partnerships with neighboring counties and organizations, and the State of North Carolina’s grant dollars will allow us to capitalize on that opportunity and bring much needed jobs and tax base to our community.”

Like Lockamy we applaud those efforts and those partnerships. And in addition, we offer our own welcome to Kansas City Sausage, thanking their leaders for the confidence they have now placed in Sampson County and their willingness to make our community their home.

The jobs are welcome, as is the lift to our tax base, both needed and most appreciated.

We can assure leaders of Kansas City Sausage that their commitment to our county will not be a one-sided one. They will soon see what a wonderful place they have chosen, what good people we have here and what great partnerships we forge and what they can do in every aspect of life in Sampson.