Sanderson Farms plans to build a new poultry processing plant in Robeson County that is expected to eventually employ about 1,000 people.
The Laurel, Miss.-based company announced its decision Thursday.
The decision comes after Sanderson spent the past few years exploring building a plant in several other sites in Nash and Cumberland counties in North Carolina. Sanderson eventually abandoned those efforts after the project faced opposition from locals who raised environmental concerns.
At full capacity, the new plant in St. Pauls, about 20 miles south of Fayetteville, will be able to process 1.25 million chickens per week. The facility will also require 100 contract growers to provide it with chickens.
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Sanderson plans to invest $139 million in the new plant. Some of that money will be used to make improvements to the company’s feed mill in Kinston. Sanderson expects its contract growers will invest another $168 million in their poultry production facilities.
Construction of the new processing plant is expected to begin this summer and be completed by the first quarter of next year.
Sanderson is eligible to receive a $1 million grant from the One North Carolina Fund if it meets hiring and investment goals. The grant requires a local match.
The average annual payroll for the new jobs will be about $28 million, which translates to $28,000 for each job. The average annual wage in Robeson County is $29,349.
Sanderson is the third-largest poultry producer in the U.S. The company employs 11,800 people.