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Skinner: Coming to Estherville the right decision

Dakota Pack owner benefits by move here

February 20, 2009
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer

Doug Skinner, owner of Dakota Pack and Protein Solutions in Estherville, told Estherville Rotarians Thursday how the company has benefited by coming to Estherville.

And Estherville could probably say the same about Dakota Pack.

A Sioux City native, Skinner decided to move back to Iowa in 2000. September 2002 he bought Northland Pork Processors in Estherville and started production in November, slaughtering and fabricating for other customers. Today Dakota Pack processes and distributes two lines, including Bluewater Pork, a premium grade marketed primarily on the West Coast.

Article Photos

Doug Skinner

Production capacity is now up to 1,500 animals a day with 90 employees. Dakota Pack bought the former Golden Sun complex south of Estherville along South Highway 4 in 2008 and began operating Protein Solutions in mid-December, adding another 15 employees.

Skinner said Dakota Pack buys most of its hogs from a 200-mile radius with some coming from as far away as Canada and Texas, depending on market conditions.

Speaking of market conditions, Skinner did note a downturn in premium grade sales as well as exports. "The export business has virtually gone away," he said. The reason for that is that while in the U.S. many people have switched from beef to pork or chicken, foreign countries have cut out protein altogether.

One of the more unusual aspects of the business is marketing porcine heart values for juvenile heart surgery in humans. The valves actually grow with the child, eliminating the need for future surgeries that were required in the past.

Skinner said the support Dakota Pack has received from Estherville showed that it was well worth the move.

"That kind of support really reinforces our decision to come to Estherville," Skinner said. "It really has been a great place for us to have a business."



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