Wayne Farms is expanding a plant in Enterprise, Alabama, to process chicken products that are in accordance with Global Animal Partnership (GAP) standards.

The company on December 12 broke ground for the expansion project.

Work on the expansion will begin immediately and is expected to be completed in January 2019.

When the expansion is finished, production at the facility will increase by more than 30 percent. The company will hire an additional 400 employees to work at the plant, bringing the total workforce there to more than 1,700 people.

Plant to process chicken according to GAP standards

The expanded plant includes the addition of a new processing line with state-of-the-industry technologies and processing equipment, including marination, waterjet portioning, automated sizing; and automated packaging, including controlled vacuum packaging.

The new line will focus on Wayne Farms’ new Naked Truth Premium Chicken brand, which features products from chickens raised to GAP Step 2 program standards. Program requirements include additional house lighting and more natural light cycles for rest, reduced house density, environmental enrichments like perches and straw bales, and the use of  controlled atmosphere stunning (CAS), rendering chickens unconscious prior to handling and processing.

“This expansion will increase our production by more than 30 percent, and allow us to focus on Naked Turth Premium chicken products, in order to meet the needs of a growing number of conscientious consumers who want proof of responsible care behind the chicken on their plates,” said Brad Williams, Wayne Farms’ south Alabama area complex manager.

“This investment in our Enterprise operation is a strategic decision,” said Clint Rivers, Wayne Farms president and CEO. “The expansion is part of our ongoing growth in south Alabama. We’ve invested more than $200 million in the Wiregrass area, and it’s a success story for us and the communities where we live and work—the relationship has been outstanding, the workforce is solid, and the support from business, government and community leaders has been exemplary,” lauded Rivers.

State, regional officials applaud Wayne Farms, expansion

Wayne Farms was joined by Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey and other area dignitaries at the groundbreaking ceremony.

“When businesses are expanding their efforts in Alabama, it is a sign that what we are doing is working,” Ivey said. “With this expansion, Wayne Farms will not only be able to better serve their customers and to grow their business, they will also provide a good wage for 400 more Alabamians. When we provide a favorable business climate, employers and employees succeed, thus, our state succeeds.”

“Wayne Farms is making the largest single economic development investment in the history of Coffee County,” said Jonathan Tullos, Wiregrass Economic Development Corporation executive director. “This investment of $105 million will help create 400 direct job opportunities for people throughout the Wiregrass. Our communities and farmers will benefit from additional sales in retail and consumer goods.  We are fortunate to have good corporate partners, like Wayne Farms, who continue to invest in our region.”