Tyson Foods is making major improvements to its Vienna, Georgia, poultry plant as part of an ongoing plan to maximize efficiencies and meet growing demand for its products. The capital improvement project, valued at more than $110 million, will bolster the future of the operation and create more than 500 jobs in Vienna.

"Tyson Foods' decision to expand in Georgia underscores how our No. 1 business climate and highly skilled workforce keeps leading companies competitive in today's fast-paced market," said Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal. " Tyson Foods is one of our state's largest employers in food processing, and I'm confident that it will continue to benefit from our top talent and robust industry network in order to deliver high-quality jobs to Georgia's citizens."

The Vienna plant has been producing chicken for foodservice customers, including restaurant chains, but will convert to supply fresh tray pack chicken to meet the needs of regional retail customers. Work began at the location in mid-January and is scheduled to be completed in mid-2015. 

The project will upgrade parts of the plant and add about 100,000 square feet. Improvements will include new equipment and production lines, as well as processes and technology designed to benefit food safety, quality and workplace safety.

"The existing infrastructure, location and the availability of workers make the Vienna plant ideal for this expansion project," said Noel White, president of poultry for Tyson Foods. "This project will improve the plant's product mix and make it even more cost competitive."

In an effort to fully staff the plant when the project is completed, the company will begin reviewing qualified applicants immediately Many of the positions will be filled before the project is completed, so new workers will have an opportunity for job training.

To assist Tyson Foods with the expansion, the  Georgia Department of Economic Development is providing qualified job tax credits for new capital investment. The state also will help with new and existing employee training programs through the Technical College System of Georgia's Quick Start program to help the company build and maintain its workforce.

"We're grateful to the Georgia Department of Economic Development and everything it has done to make this project possible," White said. "We appreciate doing business in Georgia and are glad we can invest in our Vienna plant."

Tyson Foods purchased the Vienna plant in 1995. The facility currently employs about 700 people, generating an annual payroll of more than $15.6 million. In addition, the company paid family farmers more than $30 million during its 2014 fiscal year to grow chickens to supply its southern Georgia operations.