Tyson Foods plans to invest $48 million in its poultry operation in Pine Bluff. Company officials say nearly 70 jobs will be created by the project, which is expected to be complete by late 2021.
“The demand for convenient, high-quality chicken products continues to grow and we’re investing in projects that meet the needs of our customers and consumers,” said Donnie King, chief operating officer for Tyson Foods. “We’d like to thank the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and the Economic Development Alliance for Jefferson County for their assistance and support of this project.”
The project will increase capacity to the plant’s fully cooked processing lines that in part produces chicken tenders, chicken strips, boneless and bone-in wings and air-fried products. The investment will also add automated processes to product packing lines, the company said.
The Pine Bluff plant and related operations were built by Tyson Foods and opened in 1991. The facility employs more than 1,100 people and paid nearly $47 million in wages during its 2020 fiscal year. The annual payout for farmers who raise chickens for the plant was more than $27 million. The company recently raised starting hourly wages at the facility to at least $15 an hour.
Tyson said it saw opportunities to increase its chicken production capacity as demand for retail accelerated amid the pandemic. The meat giant is also slated to open a brand new chicken processing complex in Tennessee later this month.
Tyson said it employs 24,000 people in Arkansas with an annual payroll of more than $1.4 billion. It also works with growers who were paid more than $237 million last year for the poultry they raised.