The Benton County Quorum Court may issue industrial revenue bonds to give tax relief to Simmons Foods, which intends to build processing plant near Gentry, Arkansas.
Simmons Foods, the 18th largest broiler company in the United States, in September announced its intent to build the Benton County facility. The company stated that it plans to invest $300 million in the facility, which is expected to create approximately 1,500 new jobs, bringing total employment at the operation to over 2,300 people by 2022. It will also create new contracts with local Arkansas farmers.
Simmons Foods intends for the plant to produce fresh and frozen chicken products for retail and restaurant customers with capacity to sell approximately 850 million pounds of poultry meat annually at full production.
The quorum court did the first of three required readings of the ordinance authorizing the bonds on February 22. The county will hold a public hearing before its March 27 meeting when the second reading is scheduled. The final reading is set for April 26, according to a report from the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
Simmons’ Foods plans to build the plant were approved by the Benton County Planning Board in December 2017.
The future poultry plant’s design will feature modern production facilities and contemporary office space supported with best-in-class environmental technologies, according to Simmons Foods.
The company expects to begin operations at the new poultry processing plant in 2019.
Simmons’ existing operations in the Benton County area include a feed mill, hatchery, propane business, business offices and a chicken processing facility, along with a dry pet food production facility operated by Simmons Pet Food. Some processing operations will transition from the existing facility to the proposed plant once construction is complete.
Once the new facility is fully operational, it will operate 24 hours a day from Sunday through Friday with three shifts each day -- two production shifts and one cleanup shift, David Jackson, Simmons Foods president and chief operating officer, told the board.