Bell & Evans building new poultry processing plant

Facility to process 2.4 million birds per week.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf recently announced that Bell & Evans, a poultry processing and wholesale company, will expand its presence in Lebanon County, Pa., creating more than 1,000 new jobs.

Bell & Evans will commence the more-than-$260 million expansion on 90 acres of owned land by building a new 560,000 sq. ft. poultry harvesting facility to house four processing lines, each with a capacity of 600,000 birds a week.

“This expansion by one of our long-standing Pennsylvania businesses, Bell & Evans, is a truly transformational project,” Wolf said. “Not only will it provide more than 1,000 new full-time jobs, but it will also support operations of more than 300 Pennsylvania farms, bringing a significant boost to our agriculture sector. I applaud Bell & Evans for choosing to continue their growth right here in Pennsylvania for years to come.”

The governor’s office said the new capacity is needed to meet increased demand for whole and value-added chicken products, which will be processed at their nearby plant also located in the county. The project is expected to create 1,069 new full-time jobs over the next three years and retain a further 1,650 jobs.

“We’re excited about our growth and its positive impact for the local communities,” Bell & Evans owner Scott Sechler said. “This expansion is supporting local farmers in 15 surrounding counties by expanding our growout and breeder operations. Additionally, coupled with our 100% conversion to a higher-welfare chicken breed, this expansion ensures Bell & Evans will maintain our position as industry leader and producer of the highest-quality chicken in the U.S.”

For this new processing facility, Bell & Evans intends to source chickens from within a one-hour radius of the facility, and all additional production will come from Pennsylvania farms, representing a significant boost to the region’s agriculture industry.

Bell & Evans received a funding proposal from the Department of Community & Economic Development for a $2 million Pennsylvania First grant, $2.138 million in Job Creation Tax Credits to be distributed upon creation of the new jobs and $421,650 in funding for job training through the WEDnet PA program. The project was coordinated by the Governor’s Action Team, an experienced group of economic development professionals who report directly to the governor and work with businesses that are considering locating or expanding in Pennsylvania.

“We appreciate the investments Bell & Evans is making in Pennsylvania, as well as Gov. Wolf’s commitment to growing our agriculture industry,” Pennsylvania department of agriculture secretary Russell Redding said. “Bell & Evans has established themselves as a leader in the poultry industry, and we’re fortunate to have them right here in our back yard. The company’s expansion here means more opportunities for our producers – both those who are already raising chickens and those who are looking for ways to diversify their operations to take advantage of growing markets.”

In January, the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority also approved an $11 million loan for Bell & Evans through PENNVEST to assist with the costs of a waste water treatment facility necessary for the completion of this expansion project.

Bell & Evans is a fifth-generation family-owned and -operated company located in Fredericksburg, Pa. Founded in 1894, it is the oldest branded chicken company in America.

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