Processing Magazine

NC plant back on track, Sanderson Farms could hire 1,500

July 27, 2009
Sanderson Farms is reviving plans to build a $121.4 million chicken-processing complex in Kinston expected to employ 1,500 people, giving an economic boost to Lenoir County. The Mississippi company postponed the plant in June 2008 amid soaring feed and fuel costs and a global glut of chicken. "We are pleased that better overall market conditions, our financial performance and a strong balance sheet have put us in a position to continue to grow our company," CEO Joe F. Sanderson Jr. said in a prepared statement. In May, the company reported quarterly earnings that beat Wall Street expectations. Declining feed costs and fewer chickens from the nation''s biggest producers have helped profit margins. Sanderson''s customers include Sysco, which supplies food for restaurants, hospitals and corporate cafeterias, and Darden Restaurants, which owns Olive Garden and Red Lobster. The planned complex on 750 acres about two hours southeast of Raleigh will include a new feed mill, poultry-processing plant and hatchery. At full capacity, the plant is expected to employ 1,500 people, require 130 contract growers and process 1.25 million birds a week.