Sanderson Farms is considering building a chicken processing plant in Cumberland County, North Carolina. Cumberland County’s vacant Cedar Creek Business Center, a 485-acre industrial site east of Interstate 95, is being considered as a potential site for the poultry company’s expansion.

Bob “Pic” Billingsley, Sanderson Farms director of development and engineering, confirmed with the Fayetteville Observer that the company is considering building a plant in Cumberland County, after two elected officials in North Carolina told the Observer that Sanderson Farms had an interest in the area.

“What we are doing is we are gathering information, fact-finding and evaluating sites, to see if Fayetteville will be a potential site for us sometime down the road,” Billingsley said.

If constructed, the plant is expected to employ more than 1,000 people.

Expansion part of Sanderson Farms’ future

The confirmation that Sanderson Farms may build in Cumberland County supports statements made by Sanderson Farms CEO Joe Sanderson Jr., who acknowledged during a May 29 earnings conference call that the company, which has plans to expand by building new complexes, is considering a project in the Carolinas.

“We will take a look at [the possibility of building the plant in the Carolinas] at the end of this crop year,” Sanderson said.

During the conference call, Sanderson said the company would first evaluate its balance sheet and other factors that would support the expansion. He added: “If we have a site [for the construction] and our board approves, it would be time to build a plant, in my judgment.”

Sanderson Farms is also progressing with its big bird deboning complex, under construction in Palestine, Texas. The project is on schedule, with processing operations expected to begin in the first three months of 2015.