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on March 11, 2014

Peco Foods to build $165 million poultry complex in northeast Arkansas

Peco Foods expansion includes hatchery, feed mill, processing plant and state-of-the art water treatment and protein conversion facilities

Peco Foods will build a fully-integrated poultry complex in Randolph and Clay counties in northeastern Arkansas. The new facilities will include a hatchery, feed mill and processing plant.

Through both locations, Peco Foods plans to invest an estimated $165 million and create 1,000 new jobs.

Mark Hickman, president and CEO of Peco Foods, joined Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe and local regional and state officials on March 10 to announce the project at the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock.

"We are extremely pleased to formally announce this new project today," Hickman said. "As we have experienced first-hand with our complex in Batesville, the state of Arkansas is home to an outstanding workforce that shares the goals and values of our company. I want to thank Gov. Beebe and his team for their assistance in making our Northeast Arkansas expansion a reality. We look forward to a long and very successful partnership."

Peco Foods has a presence in Arkansas since 2011 when the company acquired the Townsends poultry complex in Batesville. In addition to the Batesville facility, Peco operates a feed mill in Newark, Ark. Through such acquisitions and expansions, Peco has grown to become the eighth largest poultry producer in the United States, processing about 24 million pounds of poultry each week.

Hickman emphasized that one of the most important aspects of this new complex is that it will enable Peco Foods to expand its rapidly-growing niche as a preferred supplier of raw poultry commodity meats for value-added national accounts. He described that as a key strategy of the company's growth going forward.

"When Peco Foods acquired an existing Arkansas facility a few years ago, it made a significant investment in the workers of Northeast Arkansas," Gov. Beebe said. "That investment has ultimately led to this major expansion. We are here today because Peco Foods knows the workforce in Randolph and Clay counties has the necessary skills to take the company to the next level of success."

Construction of the new Peco Foods complex will begin in two phases. Groundbreaking on the Peco Foods feed mill site is set for April and the first stages of work on the hatchery and processing plant site will begin in July.

Hickman said Peco will incorporate state-of-the-art wastewater treatment and protein conversion facilities in the new complex that will utilize the latest technology.

"Historically, one of the biggest challenges facing any poultry company is the treatment of wastewater and the conversion of byproducts in a manner that is environmentally appropriate as well as cost effective," Hickman told the group in Little Rock. "In keeping with our commitment to protect the environment, we believe the new systems will be a model for the industry."

Peco Foods is recognized worldwide for its dedication to quality and customer satisfaction. It is a premier jumbo bird company supplying many kinds of boneless products to national restaurant chains, regional food service distributors and retail grocers to customers throughout the United States and in world markets.

Headquartered in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Peco Foods has processing plants throughout Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas.

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