Leaders in Gibson County, Tennessee, are thrilled that Tyson Foods is building a poultry complex in the county and are optimistic the facility will offer trickle-down economic benefits.
The Gibson County community of Humboldt was chosen by Tyson Foods for the site of its future complex, originally planned for Leavenworth County, Kansas. Tyson, in November 2017, announced its plans to build in Humboldt after withdrawing its plans to build in Kansas amid public opposition. The complex will include not only a poultry processing plant, but also a feed mill and hatchery.
The complex is expected to be operational by the end of 2019.
Gibson County Economic Development Director Kingsley Brock told The Tennessean that the county’s population is declining and just half of the working-age residents participate in the labor force. The Tyson complex will not only provide jobs and opportunities for area farmers, but will also expand the local economy to make room for more businesses. Brock said developers would like to create apartments, and the potential for new restaurants, retail businesses and a new hotel is there.
Gibson County Mayor Tom Witherspoon said he cannot “overstate what (the Tyson complex) is going to do” for the local economy, saying it will benefit “everybody from car salesmen to cake bakers to shoe salesmen and everybody in between.”
Gibson County had taken a lot of hits economically in recent years, with the closure of the Kellwood Company, Emerson Motor Company, Brown Shoe Company, Plastech Corp., Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., and the Milan Army Ammunition Plant.
But Witherspoon feels the county’s misfortunes will end with the Tyson facility.
"Things are going to get better for Gibson County," Witherspoon said. "We've been beat on and picked on and on up. It's time for us to have a success story and claw our way back. If it takes growing chickens to do it, then so be it. It's just step one in the right direction."