1,700 acres, in Wabuska, is one step closer to being the home of a large meat-packing operation, adding hundreds of jobs to a county that was devastated by the recession.
Lyon County has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, still hovering near 15%. Bob Cotter is the president of Sierra Builders of Nevada. He says building this new plant could add 350 to 400 construction jobs, alone.
"This is a very huge project for them," Cotter said. "It will put them back on the map."
Once completed, the plant would process 1,000 head of cattle, 2,000 hogs, and 500 sheep and goats, every day. It would employ 600 to 900 people from the local area.
"I think anything that would come in would be a benefit to this whole state," Yerington resident Tom Thomson said. "Any new taxes, anything would be better for all of our economy."
"It's a good thing, you know," Yerington resident Glenn Sciarani said. "This town could use a little economic boost, you know. There's a lot of farmers that might be able to contribute."
A large part of Lyon County's economic base is in agriculture and the plant would add to that, processing organic meat, coming from a 500-mile radius, around the west coast.
"Everything that comes out of this plant will be pre-packaged, ready for the grocery shelf, with vegetables or whatever needs to be put in there for whatever cut it is," Cotter said.
But the Lyon County Commission did have some concerns, like water use, odor, dust, and effects on ground water.
"There is a number of people, in the community, that are concerned about the potential environmental impact and so, the board of commissioners, when they were reviewing this, had to take all those into consideration," Lyon County Planning Director Rob Loveberg said.
Officials say this plant will be one of a kind, using solar and geothermal power, and will treat water, on-site. There will also be an aerobic digester that processes manure, using the methane gas to power the generators that run the plant.
"There is nothing like this, that we know of, in the United States or even in the world," Cotter said. "It is a forward thinking, state of the art, 100-percent organic meat-packing plant."
But it's not a done deal for Wabuska yet. State, federal and building permits are still needed. If Walker River Meats gets the proper permits, the plant could be operating within 18 to 24 months.