July 9, 2019
Simmons Foods to open US$300 million chicken processing plant in Arkansas, US
The building of a new US$300 million chicken processing facility in the US state of Arkansas is coming close to completion and expected to be opened in October, Westside Eagle Observer reported.
This week, local officials toured the new 315,000-square-foot facility, which is owned by Siloam Springs-based Simmons Foods and will replace the company's other processing site in Decatur. Located on an 870-acre piece of land, the plant is based in Western Benton County.
When it starts operations, the facility will harvest live chickens from around 300 independent family farmers to produce fresh and frozen chicken products, according to Donny Epp, Simmons Foods' senior director of communications.
"This will be the best top-end plant that I've ever seen," said Russell Tooley, chief administrative officer for Simmons Foods. "It's not just good for western Benton County, not just good for Arkansas. I think it will really set the tone in the industry for what 'good' looks like."
The processing plant is expected to create 1,500 jobs, Epp said. 800 employees who currently work at Simmons' Decatur plant will be transferred to the new facility when it opens, and it is expected to reach a capacity of 2,300 jobs in the next three years.
In addition, the processing facility will boost the need for live chicken by 28% which will increase the number of chicken houses, Epp added. Most of the farm growth will take place in the tri-state area of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri, according to Jeff Norman, Simmons Foods' senior director of operations.
- Westside Eagle Observer