The Texas Department of Agriculture has awarded Smith County a grant of $850,000, and that money will be used to help the county improve its water infrastructure in order to support the new Sanderson Farms poultry complex being built in that county.

The county was notified of the grant money by Texas Agriculture Sid Miller in late January. According to East Texas Matters, the money will come from the state agriculture department’s capital fund, and the project related to the grant will connect Sanderson Farms’ poultry plant to Sand Flat Water Supply Corporation. The report further stated that the plant is currently served by a single existing private well.

According to earlier reports, Smith County had applied for the grant money in June 2018.

The complex, to be built in the Tyler, Texas, area will include a poultry plant, feed mill and hatchery. 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.

Joe F. Sanderson Jr., CEO of Sanderson Farms, said in December 2018 that getting the complex in Smith County will be a high priority for the company in 2019.

“The new Tyler complex demonstrates our optimism and our confidence in the long-term success for Sanderson Farms and our industry. The new complex will add value for our investors, opportunities for our employees and their communities and more high-quality products for new customers,” Sanderson said. “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 broiler company in the United States, having processed 82.5 pounds of ready-to-cook chicken on a weekly basis in 2017. The publicly traded poultry company is headquartered in Laurel, Mississippi.