EAGLE MOUNTAIN — City officials are thrilled that food giant Tyson will be the largest employer in the area and a likely catalyst for more industrial development.

But they aren’t forgetting about the rural history of the fast-growing city west of Utah Lake.

Tyson broke ground Tuesday on a $300 million meat packaging facility that will begin with 800 jobs and an annual payroll of $44 million, but the plant could expand up to 1,200 positions.

“Tyson will be on 800 acres out here, but considering the fact that Eagle Mountain is over 50 square miles, it’s a really small part of our city,” Eagle Mountain Mayor Tom Westmoreland said.

The city will also be getting a Facebook data center, but the mayor said officials are taking steps to ensure that the deer and other wildlife that roamed the vast tracts of land will still have room.

“We’re trying to keep that land intact in a natural state ... so that animals can stay and continue to migrate,” Westmoreland said.

A Tyson official said it selected this location in Eagle Mountain because Utah has a vibrant workforce and its position in the West.

“We were looking for a good location to get product to the West Coast and this is a great location in regards to getting trucks in with the raw material we need and finished products out to our customers,” said Nathan Hodne, a senior vice president with Tyson foods.

He added that Eagle Mountain is a growing area and “we’ve really enjoyed the community.”

Large cuts of beef and pork will come to the Eagle Mountain site along state Route 73 from the Midwest to be processed into retail packages that will go to stores across the western United States.

“They’ll be all beef and pork products, so if you buy a tray of ribeye steaks or ground beef hamburger patties, those are the types of products we make at this operation. Retailers that buy product from us, it’ll go to their distribution centers and then they’ll send it out to their stores from their distribution location,” Hodne said.

The company expects the plant to be up and running sometime in 2021.

Crews work at the site of a future Tyson meat packaging plant in Eagle Mountain on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2019. Company and city officials gathered Tuesday for a groundbreaking ceremony for the $300 million facility. | Sam Penrod, Deseret News