Tyson Foods will build a new chicken production complex in the Humboldt, Tennessee, the company announced at a news conference on November 20.
The $300 million project is expected to create more than 1,500 local jobs once the new complex begins operations in late 2019 and will help the company meet strong consumer demand for its chicken.
“Our company has been successfully producing chicken in Tennessee for more than 45 years, so we’re pleased to expand our presence in the state with this major investment,” Doug Ramsey, group president of Poultry for Tyson Foods, said in a press release. “We’re grateful for the invitation to become part of Humboldt and Gibson County. The location is attractive to us because of the strong support we’ve received from state and local leaders, the existing industrial park and availability of labor, as well as access to feed grains produced in the region.”
Tyson Foods chose western Tennessee over potential sites in other states; however, company officials say some of those other sites will remain under consideration for future poultry production expansion. The company had earlier selected Tonganoxie, Kansas, as a location for a new complex, but Tyson started to look at other locations following opposition from local residents and withdrawn support from elected officials there.
The press conference where the announcement was made was hosted by Tennessee, Humbolt and Gibson County officials.
About the poultry complex
The new Tyson Foods plant will produce pre-packaged trays of fresh chicken for retail grocery stores nationwide and is expected to process 1.25 million birds per week, increasing Tyson Foods’ overall production capacity by the same amount.
The payroll and payments to farmers from the new operation, along with its purchase of grain and utilities, is expected to generate an annual economic benefit to the state of Tennessee of $150 million.
A chicken complex is comprised of a processing plant, hatchery, a feed mill and related operations. Tyson Foods will build these in and around Humboldt. The plant will be located within the Gibson County Industrial Park, just north of Humboldt and the company will contract with area farmers to raise chickens. Outside contractors will help build the project; Tyson Foods expects it will involve hundreds of workers.
“This project will enable us to provide even more fresh chicken to consumers across the country,” said Tom Hayes, president and CEO of Tyson Foods. “As one of the world’s leading protein companies, we continue to raise the world’s expectations of how much good food can do.”
The company is currently seeking producers to be contract growers and to sell grain for feed. Employees for the complex will be sought at a later date.
Tyson adding to presence in Gibson County
This is the second major economic development project Tyson Foods has initiated in Tennessee this year. In August, the company announced an $84 million expansion of its Union City operations, which is expected to create about 300 jobs, which is in addition to the more than 1,000 jobs currently at the facility.
Including Union City, the company currently operates four facilities in the state, employing about 5,000 with an annual payroll of more than $181 million. In its 2016 fiscal year, Tyson Foods paid Tennessee farmers more than $61 million. The company estimates its total statewide annual impact for fiscal 2016, including payroll, grain purchases, utilities, property taxes and charitable contributions to be more than $313 million.
“This is an historic day for Humboldt, Gibson County and West Tennessee,” Humboldt Mayor Marvin Sikes said. “I want to thank Tyson Foods for their commitment to our community and region. The significant job creation and capital investment that will result from this project will have a positive impact on our community that will last for many years, and I could not be more excited about the future of Humboldt and Gibson County.”
“Many years of dedicated work from countless Gibson County citizens and volunteers have laid the foundation for the arrival of this day,” Gibson County Mayor Tom Witherspoon said. “There is not a doubt in my mind that Tyson Foods’ tremendous job creation and capital investment will have a long lasting, positive impact in Gibson County that will ring in a new era of economic growth bringing opportunity for all of our citizens.”