JBS USA and Plumrose USA announced plans Tuesday to invest $3.1 million to help Ottumwa respond to needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and invest in the community's future through the "Hometown Strong" program.

The companies have been working with local leaders to identify where the funds can best help meet immediate and long-term community needs in three key areas — food insecurity, community infrastructure and well-being, as well as COVID-19 emergency response and relief efforts.

All projects will be determined by the end of the year.

"The Hometown Strong initiative is helping us provide tangible benefits to our community as we continue to navigate the global pandemic," said Joe Mach, general manager of JBS Ottumwa, in a statement. "We remain focused on keeping our team members safe and healthy, but we are grateful to also have the opportunity to support our neighbors."

Ottumwa Mayor Tom Lazio agreed.

"The investment by JBS and Plumrose in the Ottumwa community is outstanding," he said in the statement. "They have been great corporate partners even before the pandemic arrived. I have been impressed with the mitigation efforts against COVID-19 for the safety of their employees and families.

"This Hometown Strong investment demonstrates their commitment to their families and the community, making Ottumwa a great place to live, work and recreate," Lazio said. "Thank you for the companies for their belief in the future of Ottumwa."

The JBS Ottumwa facility, which includes Plumrose USA bacon, employs more than 2,200 people with an annual payroll of nearly $125 million. The facility supports more than 1,000 producers, paying them nearly $800 per year for their livestock. JBS Ottumwa has invested more than $72 million in capital improvements over the last five years.

JBS USA operates more than 60 meat, poultry and prepared foods plants, employing over 62,000 people.  

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