Global Processing

Meat processing plant to open in Cumberland County, Pa.

November 19, 2012

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. — A new meat processing plant is to be built in Cumberland County, Pa., thanks to a $63 million investment from Ahold USA, Gov. Tom Corbett has announced.

The facility, which is predicted to give a significant economic boost to the local community, will be run by Vantage Foods and is expected to create at least 850 jobs, Corbett said in a statement. The plant will be located in Pennsylvania because the state has proved that it provides an excellent business climate and is making significant efforts to develop its economy, the governor explains. Ahold USA had been considering a number of locations for the new facility across several states, but ultimately selected Lower Allen Township, Cumberland County.

The Department of Community and Economic Development is providing a $1.275 million grant to Ahold USA to fund the project, and Vantage Foods can apply for a $360,000 fund for job training and a further $1.7 million in tax credits for job creation.

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Mark McGowan, executive vice president, supply chain at Ahold USA, says that the facility is a major investment for the future and the financial incentives provided by the Department of Community and Economic Development will facilitate the success of the project. The meat processing plant will be a driver for the further economic development of Central Pennsylvania, he adds.

His opinion was backed by Leonal Kilgore, president and CEO at Vantage U.S., who commented that Central Pennsylvania is the perfect spot for the new business. Lower Allen Township, in particular, is a good source of local employees and its strategic location near major distribution arteries was a key advantage when selecting the site for the plant, he says. Vantage Foods aims to become a "good corporate citizen" and to give the community a solid economic boost, Kilgore concludes.

The meat processing plant project has been coordinated by a group of experts in economic development, aptly called the Governor''s Action Team, whose main task is to work closely with businesses that are considering moving to or expanding their activity in the state of Pennsylvania.

Cumberland County''s community has also welcomed the announcement of the facility, hoping that it will bring significant benefits to the area. H. Edward Black, president of the Lower Allen Township Commissioners, said that the project is a great asset to the township and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, not just because it will provide jobs to local residents but because it can attract more new businesses to the region in the long term.

The two companies involved are well-established names in the U.S. food industry. Ahold USA is based in Carlisle, Pa., and Quincy, Mass., and supports four divisions in the northeast United States, dealing with grocery retail, whereas Vantage Foods, based in Wichita, Kan., specializes in the production and sale of packaged meats to retail food chains.