Two mortar shells were found at the construction site of the Sanderson Farms poultry complex in Smith County, Texas.

According to a report from East Texas Matters, the shells that were found were practice shells and therefore did not contain any live explosive, officials from the Smith County Sheriff’s Office said. It is not certain whether there are more mortar shells in the area, according to the report.

Construction at the site has since resumed.

Sanderson Farms expects to begin production at the Smith County yet in 2019. When the company announced its plans to open the facility in Tyler, Texas, it revealed that it will process about 1.2 million birds per week, and will have an annual output of around 375 million pounds of dressed chicken when it reaches full production.


The complex under construction will also include a feed mill and a hatchery. However, Sanderson Farms, which has also built new poultry complexes in Palestine, Texas, and St. Pauls, North Carolina, in recent years, said it will pause before building any more poultry plants.

“The new Tyler complex demonstrates our optimism and our confidence in the long-term success for Sanderson Farms and our industry,” Sanderson Farms chairman and CEO Joe F. Sanderson Jr. said during the company’s quarterly earnings call on December 20, 2018.

“The new complex will add value for our investors, opportunities for our employees and their communities and more high-quality products for new customers. We are committed to continue our growth beyond Tyler, but we will take this year to work on our operations and sales at our existing facilities.”

Sanderson Farms, according to the WATTAgNet Top Poultry Companies Database, is the third largest poultry company in the United States and the 10th largest poultry company in the world. It processed 82.50 million pounds of ready to cook poultry on a weekly basis in 2017.