Hendrix Genetics recently celebrated the opening of its new egg layer hatchery in Grand Island, Nebraska.

Once fully operational, the facility will hatch 24 million chicks per year, provide 43 hatchery jobs, and supply 10 percent of the U.S. layer market, according to a press release from Hendrix Genetics.

The opening ceremony was well attended by Hendrix Genetics, a number of U.S. egg producers as well as community members and government representatives.

Hatchery capabilities

Biosecurity was a key focus when designing the layout and selecting the necessary equipment. The hatchery is outfitted with 30 incubators and 18 hatchers supplied by Jamesway. These incubators and hatchers are single stage and feature a removable ECU so the entire machine can be fully disinfected in minutes. With these capabilities, about 100,000 pullet chicks per day, five days per week are hatched for distribution to U.S. egg producers.

The new facility covers 20 acres in the northeast section of Grand Island’s Platte Valley Industrial Park. Grand Island was chosen as the site for the facility, largely because of its central location that would allow the company to deliver chicks anywhere in the U.S. within 24 hours of hatching.

A network of breeder barns

Hatching eggs will be supplied by 11 contract parent stock farms, with capacity for 40,000 birds per barn, located close to the hatchery to ensure that optimal egg quality is maintained up until setting. Currently, 8 barns are fully constructed or in progress, with three more planned for construction.

Grand opening

The grand opening was launched with remarks from Dave Taylor, president of the Grand Island Economic Development Corp.; Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts; Nebraska Department of Agriculture Director Greg Ibach; Antoon Van Den Berg, CEO of Hendrix Genetics; Serve Hermans, managing director of Hendrix Genetics Layers, Peter Mumm, Hendrix Genetics director of business development, and Doug Metzler, Hendrix Genetics general manager.

Taylor stated: “This $18 million facility will create 43 jobs. Additionally, they have contracted with farmers in the area to build breeder barns. These breeder barns cost between $1.2 to $2.2 million to construct. And so when you add this whole project together, this is a $40 million capital infusion into the Grand Island and surrounding area.”

Van Den Berg spoke, remarking that the hatchery was a showcase for the company and the motivating nature of the community encouraged Hendrix Genetics to select Nebraska, not only for its layer hatchery, but also for its turkey parent stock hatchery in Beatrice, Nebraska, set to open in October. Hermans also addressed the crowd, stating, “We feel extremely proud here today in this new building so we can contribute to feeding the world.”

On hand to celebrate the opening of Hendrix Genetics’ new layer hatchery in Grand Island, Nebraska, were, from left, Jason Anderson; area sales manager for Jamesway; Jim McKay; sales director for the Americas at Jamesway; Peter Mumm; Hendrix Genetics director of business development; Doug Metzler; Hendrix Genetics general manager; and Dominic Babineau, Soteck representative. | Photo courtesy of Jamesway

After remarks and a ribbon cutting, Hendrix Genetics team members provided tours of the facility, taking the visitors from egg setting, through to hatching, chick servicing and preparation for transport.