The Global Food Industry
How immigrants keep an Iowa meatpacking town alive
May, 2017 – Storm Lake, IA has been a meat processing town for a long time. In the last century getting a union job at one of the plants meant a good life as the pay was $16 an hour, with a generous benefits package on top of that. Back then the town was mostly white and mostly conservative.
But fierce global competition, agricultural automation and plant closures have left many rural towns struggling for survival. The union jobs are gone and Storm Lake has stayed alive only because of the Asian, African and Latino immigrants who have filled jobs at pork, egg and turkey plants where wages have fallen and work has grown more grueling.
The New York Times has a feature story detailing the changes that are shaping the future of this small Iowa town. Read at: