Tyson Foods’ Sedalia plant expansion will add jobs

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 205 views 

As part of an effort to be the best-in-class protein supplier, Tyson Foods Inc. recently began work on a multi-million dollar improvement and expansion project at its poultry complex in Sedalia, Mo. The expansion will create as many as 200 additional jobs in the next two years. The complex currently employs about 1,450 people.

Improvements will include state-of-the-art processes and technologies designed to benefit animal handling, food safety, environmental quality, workplace safety and production, such as:
•  The addition of up to five poultry deboning lines;
•  Upgrades to the plant’s wastewater treatment operations; and
•  Improvements in the poultry slaughter area.

The project also will upgrade parts of the plant that have been in operation since 1994.

“This additional investment in Sedalia and Pettis County through new jobs and expansion is very good news, and continues the momentum we are seeing in moving Missouri’s economy forward,” Governor Jay Nixon said.

The company plans to hire about 150 people between November 2012 and March 2013. Another 50 people likely will be required by mid-2014, Tyson officials said.

“Tyson chose to make this investment in Sedalia because of the quality of the local workforce and the outstanding family farmers that grow for us in the area,” said Chris McMurrough, vice president of operations for Tyson. “The improvements will help optimize the plant’s product mix for our customers and make it even more cost competitive.”

Ergonomics, the science of making the workplace fit the worker, will be incorporated into the new debone and slaughter areas. This will involve equipment and processes designed to reduce physical demand on certain jobs.

In addition to upgraded equipment and infrastructure at the wastewater treatment operations, a third lagoon will be built to ensure there is enough capacity to handle higher volumes.

“The Sedalia complex recently received recognition for its environmental work from the American Meat Institute,” said Alan Johnston, complex manager. “We’ve made being good stewards of the environment a priority with this project.”

The Sedalia poultry complex contracts with more than 125 poultry farmers in seven counties in central Missouri. Complex operations include the poultry processing plant, hatchery, feed mill, live haul operations, wastewater treatment facility and a rendering operation. The plant produces fully cooked chicken for grocery customers, including fully cooked patties, nuggets, wings and breast strips.

Annual payroll for the complex for fiscal year 2011 was more than $46.3 million; total family farmer pay to grow chickens for the complex was approximately $27.4 million.