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Lee Co. leaders excited for Conagra expansion

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Conagra Foods announced a multi-million dollar expansion to its Lee County processing facility January 17 and local leaders said it's a great opportunity..

"Anytime you have someone reinvest in your area, it's exciting because it sends that loud and clear message this is a good place to be," Fort Madison mayor Matt Mohrfeld said.

Lee County leaders said the 31.9 million dollar expansion is great news due to the news it will add 91 jobs.

"We're looking at 90 jobs and these are quality jobs with benefits," Mohrfeld said.

"Anytime you see a 32 million dollar investment in a local facility, it tells you that they're planning to be here for quite a while," Lee County Economic Development Group president Dennis Fraise said.

Fraise said news of the expansion is welcome relief.

"As you know, rural Iowa, rural America there's a challenge right now for workforce," he said.

Mohrfeld said the expansion sends the exact message they need right now.

"We send a message to our workforce that that you're good people, are efficient and we can expand because we have a quality workforce," he said.

Fraise said now their main goal is keeping it that way.

"It means that we really have to up our game in terms of working with our high schools, community colleges, and making sure we're providing the skilled labor that we need for the future," Fraise said.

Fraise says Conagra will start making the physical improvements to the plant later this year and will add the new jobs around this time next year.

Wages for the new jobs will start at just over $17 and eventually rise to over $20.

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Lee County Conagra facility announces 91 new jobs, $31 million expansion

Blake Sammann

Blake Sammann is a reporter and weekend anchor at WGEM News.

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