Tyson Building Poultry Plant in Tennessee; Kansas Plans on Hold

Tyson Foods, Inc. has announced plans to build a new chicken processing plant in western Tennessee. The $300 million project would create more than 1,500 jobs and is expected to be operational by the end of 2019.

An announcement was made on Nov. 20 by Tyson that the company had accepted an “invitation of city, county and state leaders to build a new chicken production complex in the City of Humboldt.”

“This project will enable us to provide even more fresh chicken to consumers across the country,” said Tom Hayes, president and CEO of Tyson Foods. “As one of the world’s leading protein companies, we continue to raise the world’s expectations of how much good food can do.”

Tyson has already made an investment in Tennessee earlier this year with the announcement of an $84 million expansion of its Union City plant.

“I want to thank Tyson Foods for choosing Humboldt as the location for its new operations and for creating more than 1,500 new jobs in Gibson County,” Governor Bill Haslam says. “The new facility will be Tyson’s fifth location in Tennessee and it means a great deal that a company of this magnitude will continue to grow its footprint in our state.”

Tyson chose the location in Humboldt, Tenn. over potential sites in other states. A similar project was proposed in Leavenworth County, Kan. in September, but due to public backlash the proposed plant never got any footing. Three other sites in Kansas were thought to be replacements to the unsuccessful location in northeast Kansas.

In a statement the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) congratulated Tyson and the state of Tennessee.

“Consumer demand drives growth in the food and agriculture industry, and we have been aware throughout our own discussions with Tyson Foods that their expansion plans included multiple facilities in more than one state, so this announcement was not unexpected. We look forward to continuing to work with Tyson Foods as they further evaluate expansion of their poultry business unit growth opportunities in Kansas,” says Heather Lansdowne, director of communications at KDA.

Officials with Tyson say they are still interested in building a poultry processing site in Kansas, however it looks like those plans are not in the immediate future.

“Our plans for a chicken complex in Kansas remain on hold while we move forward in Tennessee. We still have interest in Kansas and will continue to consider potential sites in the state for additional expansion of our poultry business,” says Worth Sparkman, manager of public relations at Tyson.

The plant in Tennessee is expected to process 1.25 million birds per week. Tyson plans to work with local farmers to raise birds and to purchase grain locally to feed the chickens.