Peco Foods announced Wednesday (Oct. 24) it will expand a feed mill in Newark and a processing plant in Batesville purchased in 2011.
The expansions will add 300 combined jobs to the plants, bringing total employment in Independence County to 866. In addition, the company plans to invest a total of $13.8 million in the two facilities.
“Peco Foods’ expansion into Arkansas was an excellent decision for us and we look forward to a long and successful partnership with the City of Batesville and the State,” said Mark Hickman, president and CEO of Peco Foods, said in a statement from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. “We appreciate the support and cooperation of Governor Beebe, Mayor Elumbaugh, Independence County Economic Development and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission for helping bring this project forward successfully. It is a privilege to be involved in helping the economy of Northeast Arkansas continue to grow.”
Peco Foods is the eighth largest poultry processor in the U.S., processing more than 4.2 million birds and 22 million pounds of ready-to-cook poultry each week.
“The expansion of Peco Foods further illustrates Northeast Arkansas’s growing influence in the food-processing sector,” Gov. Mike Beebe said. “Peco’s success will draw even more interest in Batesville, both as a community and as the home of an effective workforce.”
Peco Foods Inc. is a third generation, family-owned business founded in the late 1930s by John Herman Hickman. Tuscaloosa, Ala.-based Peco has operations in Alabama and Mississippi, each with a hatchery, feed mill, live production grow-out and processing plant.
The company also has two further processing plants in Mississippi. Peco employs more than 4,900 people throughout its operations.