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Tyson Foods expanding Tennessee poultry operation

More than 300 jobs to be created by $84 million project in Union City.

Tyson Foods will invest $84 million as part of its commitment to the continued success of its Union City, Tenn., poultry plant, company officials said this week. More than 300 jobs will be created by the project, which is expected to be completed by mid-2019.

“Customer and consumer demand for protein, especially chicken, is increasing, so we’re investing in projects that build on our strengths, expand our capabilities and increase our capacity,” said Doug Ramsey, group president of poultry for Tyson. “Expansions like this position us to grow and support our customers.”

The project, set to begin this fall, will increase capacity to the plant’s existing harvest area, add processing lines, as well as upgrades to supporting operations at the hatchery, feed mill and in transportation. About 25,000 sq. ft. will be added to the plant facility.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said, “Tyson has been an integral part of Obion County for 20 years, and I’m pleased to see the company move forward with this 300-job expansion in Union City. With more than 1,000 employees in west Tennessee, Tyson’s impact on the community extends to the local farmers supported by its operations. I’d like to thank Tyson for its continued commitment to west Tennessee and bringing us closer to making Tennessee the number-one location in the Southeast for high-quality jobs.”

In order to meet the new capacity of the facility, Tyson estimates that nearly 200 more broiler chicken houses will need to be built in northwestern Tennessee within the next two years. Independent farmers who may want to grow for Tyson are encouraged to visit the Grow With Tyson website to learn more about the process and make initial contact with the company.

“We’re pleased to be able to invest in such a great community,” Ramsey said. “We’d like to thank the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development and the Northwest Tennessee Economic Development Council for their assistance and support for this project.”

The Union City plant and related operations were built by Tyson and opened in 1997. The plant makes partially fried chicken products for foodservice. The facility employs more than 1,000 people and paid nearly $32 million in wages during the company's 2016 fiscal year. Annual payouts to farmers who raise chickens for the plant came to more than $15 million.

Tyson also operates facilities in Goodlettsville, Newbern and Shelbyville, Tenn., employing about 5,000 people in the state, with an annual payroll of more than $181 million. Tyson paid Tennessee poultry growers more than $61 million in fiscal 2016 and estimates its total statewide impact to be $313 million.

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