Governor vetoes funds for Newberry meat processing plant

File photo from Florida Channel broadcast


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Governor DeSantis signed next year’s budget today, and the veto list includes $1.75 million for a proposed meat processing plant in Newberry that has been championed by County Commissioner Anna Prizzia. The money represents a third of the projected cost of the facility; Alachua County has allocated $2.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds, and the County has applied for federal funds to make up the rest.

The meat processing plant has generated significant opposition from members of the public, who continue to speak during General Public Comment periods at County Commission meetings, although a number of people showed up to support the facility at an April meeting.

Newberry City Commissioner Tim Marden said, “The governor made some difficult decisions in this year’s budget, but at least we began the discussions; maybe we’ll have better luck next year if we try again.”

  • About 10 years ago there was an ordeal about a cattle ranch in Marion and presumably a slaughterhouse with it, called Adena Ranch. Did that ever happen?

    • The big issue with Adena was the amount of water it needed. Google it, seems to still be in operation. I don’t recall a slaughterhouse connected with it.

    • I believe the ranch, owned by Mr. Stronach, (self made billionaire), was wanting to utilize water resources from the Silver River. Don’t know if it happened. Mr. Stronach is the real deal, great story and at least of what I know of him, really nice guy.

  • Animal Services was deep in discussion and plans to build a new and very needed county animal facility. Now the Newberry slaughter house has the county commisioners (with exception of Commissioner Connell) vested interest in the slaughter house.

  • Thank you Governor!

    Forget the meat packing waste of taxpayers money and the animal facility “BOCC”, “BOCC”!

    Please take care of the actual (and purported) homeless who can be found on way too many street corners! Find them a home, or arrest those who are able to work but choose to be one of the many vagrants who seem to work their assigned corners on a regular shift basis! In particular, arrest those who claim to be homeless veterans but are NOT!

  • So Deathsantis slaughtered Prizzia’s pet pork project? How sad.
    I wish I could be a fly on the wall today and listen to Prizzia explain to her IFAS Masters how she failed to get them their pork project folly.

  • Alachua County Commissioner Prizzia (elected 2020) has a noncounty job working for the Dean of UF IFAS, overseeing the Field & Fork Program and works as the campus food systems coordinator for the University of Florida. In her first county budget she creates a new county position “Economic Development & Food Systems Manager” (starting 10/2021) promoting Sean McLendon to this job. The county’s job description says “Oversees food system projects in coordination with UF/IFAS Extension and Economic Development.” McLendon has been the county’s #1 promoter of Prizzia’s pet project, the Newberry Slaughterhouse. IFAS is also a cheerleader for this project.
    It appears to some in the public that the commissioner has created a county funded job identical to her state job and hired someone to “do her state job for her” at the county taxpayer’s expense. She benefits. (Or is it simply ego? “My state job is so, SO important the county simply MUST have an identical position.)
    On 9/28/2021 Sean McLendon issued county purchase order 2022-00001072 for $9,812 to Christa Court at IFAS Food and Resource Economics to fund a four month research paper “Economic Analysis of an Alachua County Meat Processing Facility”. Report was due January 2022. Note it says Alachua County, not Newberry, and there is no mention of using it as a Santa Fe jobs training facility. That came later.) The county is funneling county money to Prizzia’s employer, IFAS. Does this benefit Prizzia with things such as promotions or pay raises from her boss the Dean of IFAS? Can’t prove it but the optics sure look bad.
    This county project could be located on hundreds of sites around the county. County projects usually start with a site selection committee researching then picking a site. From day one Prizzia has adamantly insisted on only one site in downtown Newberry. No discussion. There may be nothing fishy about this site selection process, but the optics sure look bad.
    Prizzia appears to be too intertwined with this project to make any impartial votes as a county commissioner or votes in the public’s best interest, not her personal best interests. Before she makes any more votes on this issue, the county attorney needs to determine if Prizzia has a conflict of interest under FS 112.3143, and if Prizzia needs to recuse herself from voting on this meat plant project and file a FORM 8B MEMORANDUM OF VOTING CONFLICT FOR COUNTY, MUNICIPAL AND OTHER LOCAL PUBLIC OFFICERS.
    At the minimum, Prizzia needs to register as a paid lobbyist for IFAS and announce this before any comments on the proposed Newberry meat plant. “The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners Lobbying Ordinance requires registration of all lobbyists who engage in efforts to influence the Board of County Commissioners on matters within its official jurisdiction. Prior to engaging in lobbying, each lobbyist will be required to file with the Clerk of the Court a registration statement which contains general identification information as to the lobbyist and their client(s)” Prizzia appears to be a paid lobbyist for IFAS and in violation of the BOCC rules.

    Perhaps a state ethics complaint is in order. Or an article by a local news outfit. . .

  • >