Date: c. 1980
Description: This is a photograph of the plant of Iowa Beef Processers, Inc. (IBP), which came to the Siouxland area in the late 1960s when Sioux City’s meat industry was on the decline. The business began in 1960 in Denison, Iowa when two meatpacking veterans, A. D. Anderson and C. J. Holman, decided the meatpacking industry needed a change. Processes in the industry had remained more or less the same since the early 20th century, and they were starting to become obsolete. Hundreds of workers who had to be specially trained were employed in unsavory conditions to process meat, and once they were processed whole carcasses were shipped out to retailers who then had to cut them down. When IBP moved to Dakota City, Nebraska in 1967 they revolutionized the meat industry on two different fronts. For one, the slaughtering and packing processes became largely automated, so a smaller, less specialized workforce could operate their plants. The company also introduced boxed beef and pork into the market. These packages were vacuum sealed in smaller portions, and contained none of the fat, bones, and sinew that required so much additional processing. They could thus be shipped in larger quantities at a lower cost, and eliminated the need for retail processing of large carcasses.
Since the plant was just across the river, many of IBP’s workers lived in Sioux City and the surrounding area, and the company provided a major source of income for many Siouxland families. Soon IBP became an industry giant, standing out as the nation’s number one beef processor and number two in pork. IBP still operates today as a subsidiary of Tyson Foods called Tyson Fresh Meats, and still uses the Dakota City plant for processing.
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