US chicken giant Tyson Foods is to invest US$84m in an expansion to its poultry plant in Union City, Tennessee.
The company, the country’s largest chicken producer with 35m chickens processed every week, predicted that the expansion project would create 300 new jobs.
The project, set to begin this autumn and scheduled for completion by mid-2019, will add an extra 25,000 sq ft in factory floor space overall. It includes an increase to the capacity of the plant’s existing harvest area, new processing lines, and upgrade to supporting operations including the hatchery, feed mill and transportation.
The Union City facility is one of four operated by Arkansas-based Tyson Foods in Tennessee – alongside Goodlettsville, Newbern and Shelbyville.
It produces partially fried chicken products for the company’s foodservice customers, employing more than 1,000 people (out of its 5,000 Tennessee employees).
In order to meet the new capacity of the facility, Tyson Foods has said it will need to build nearly 200 additional broiler chicken houses in north western Tennessee within the next two years. It is attempting to recruit independent farmers to its Grow With Tyson initiative in order to help satisfy that need.
Tyson, known for its namesake brand and those of Jimmy Dean, Sara Lee and Hillshire Farm, recently posted a 1.4% increase in sales to US$28.1bn in the nine months to 1 July compared to a year earlier.
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The company recently promoted three of its top executives to lead different areas of the business. Doug Ramsey, who, in April, had been promoted to president of poultry operations, took on the new role of group president of poultry.
Speaking about plans for the new plant, he said: “Customer and consumer demand for protein, especially chicken, is increasing so we’re investing in projects that build on our strengths, expand our capabilities and increase our capacity. Expansions like this position us to grow and support our customers.”