Tyson Foods seeks to build $136 million processing plant in Green Forest

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 400 views 

Tyson Foods is already the largest employer in Green Forest, Ark., but the meat giant is hoping to expand its already large footprint with a $136 million processing facility to be located near its existing plant.

Tyson presented its proposal to the finance committee of Carroll County Quorum Court on Wednesday (April 13) outlining a plan to construct a sister plant that would help the company better serve its retail and foodservice customers. The new plant would create 85 new jobs once operational. The company is seeking certain tax abatements from the Carroll County Quorum Court along with use tax credits from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. The company said the project hinges on the tax abatements and credit from the county and state.

The proposed plant would be a 200,000-square-foot processing facility which would be connected to the existing plant via corridor. If the county and state approve the tax breaks, Tyson plans to begin construction this summer with plant completion expected in late 2017.

“This project would allow us to better serve our foodservice customers through improved product mix and greater efficiencies,” said Noel White, president of poultry for Tyson Foods. “This is the first new plant construction project Tyson Foods has proposed to build in a number of years and we’re hopeful we can partner with Carroll County and the AEDC to invest in our home state.”

The Green Forest plant already produces a variety of partially cooked chicken products for foodservice and retail customers, including nuggets and portioned fillets. The new project will increase the facility’s partially cooked capacity, increasing efficiency by reducing transportation of products to other locations for further processing. The development of the new plant would not change the number of chickens grown for operations in Carroll County.

Originally built by Franz Foods in 1959, Tyson Foods purchased the Green Forest plant in 1967. The facility  employs more than 1,250 people, generating an annual payroll of more than $37 million. Tyson Foods said it paid family farmers more than $29 million during its 2015 fiscal year to grow chickens to supply its Carroll County operations in Green Forest and Berryville.