Bell & Evans is seeking additional local farmers to produce hatching eggs and raise its chickens to support the chicken harvesting plant it is opening in Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania.

According to a press release from Bell & Evans, the new 560,000-square-foot plant will enable the company to process another 2.6 million chickens per week in addition to the 1 million chickens it currently processes on a weekly basis.

To support increased production, Bell & Evans estimates that it will need to increase its breeder farms by 250 percent and grow out farms where the chickens are raised by 250 percent.

“This is a very exciting time for us,” said Bell & Evans owner Scott Sechler. “We have the ongoing new Harvesting Plant build, and we’re also in the midst of converting 100 percent of our chickens to a higher-welfare breed, Das Klassenbester. These developments mean healthier chickens and more of them. We’re a great fit for farmers who want to incorporate a successful chicken business into their operation.”

According to the press release, Bell & Evans grows both “raised without antibiotics” and “organic” chickens. Every chicken house is built with the highest standards and the ability to switch to organic if the farmer is eligible. Bell & Evans houses have cement floors and curbs to prevent pests, full cleanout and sanitation between flocks, fresh litter for every flock, plentiful windows and doors for natural light and energy-efficient radiant heaters and cooling systems. Flock supervisors routinely visit grow-out farms to provide guidance and resources for successfully raising flocks.

Growers typically live within 60 minutes, on average, of Fredericksburg, where the hatchery and processing facilities are located. Breeders are located throughout Pennsylvania.

Bell & Evans will also be hiring an additional 1,800 full-time team members to support its growth at the chicken harvesting plant.

Bell & Evans largest retail customers include Wegmans Food Markets, Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh.