CENTERFIELD—A Nevada entrepreneur appealed to the Centerfield City Council on Wednesday, Aug. 2 to let him open a meatpacking plant here.
“I’ve got a Ferrari assembled, mayor,” said Paul Davis of Just Beef. “I just need you to give me the tires.”
The “Ferrari” is a plan to convert the old sugar company factory property at the intersection of U.S. 89 and Factory Lane into a beef production facility that could employ 50 people with jobs starting at $15 an hour. Davis said priority for those jobs would go to Gunnison Valley residents.
The missing “tires,” however, is the tricky task of allotting and producing enough water to support it.
Centerfield Mayor Tom Sorensen said he would like to find a way to let the plan go forward and create more jobs. Sanpete County Commissioner Steve Lund said he would be in favor of the plant for the tax base increase it would provide. However, Sorensen said he would not do anything that could put his citizens’ or fire department’s water supply at risk, especially after experiencing droughts in two of the past three years.
Sorensen said Centerfield does not have the infrastructure capacity to deliver the 60,000 minimum of extra gallons per day that Davis’ plant would need. Among Sorensen’s worries is that to guarantee this water to Davis’ plant would jeopardize the city’s reserve for the fire department, which holds 500,000 gallons.
Davis called for the city and county to find a way to let him open the plant and stimulate the local economy. He argued the benefit his plant would provide Mayfield and Gunnison City should warrant those cities helping Centerfield to guarantee his plant the water it would need.
“Centerfield has the water right, but no way of getting the water to us,” Davis said. “The solution would be everybody working together.”
Davis said he would be willing to pay extra costs in order to set up in Centerfield. He sees it as an ideal location because of its centrality to Utah and surrounding states and access to major roadways.
He also said his operation could localize supply chains. He said the area’s feed farmers currently export 90 percent of their product, much of which he would start buying. He also said local companies have approached him about producing completed USDA-approved products for them to sell.
“I’m hopeful that the farmers in the area that have the cattle are talking to their city officials,” Davis said.
The council brought up ideas like building more production and storage infrastructure to accommodate the increased water demand. The matter remained unresolved at the meeting’s adjournment, with council members and the mayor resolving to look into questions about water rights and inter-city cooperation possibilities.