RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A poultry farm that was twice rejected and then accepted by one county will locate elsewhere in North Carolina.
State officials said Thursday that Sanderson Farms Inc. will build a processing plant and hatchery in Robeson County that will create about 1,100 jobs during the next three years. They say Sanderson expects to invest about $139 million in the complex, including upgrades to its Kinston feed mill.
"When a strong, successful company brings 1,100 new jobs to North Carolina, especially a rural community, it is a game changer," Gov. Pat McCrory said in a news release.
The plant will be built in the 600-acre industrial park owned by St. Pauls that's located about four miles west of the town.
Sanderson Farms originally courted Cumberland County, where commissioners rejected a $2.5 million incentives package amid concerns about environmental issues. In February, they approved the incentives. About the same time, Robeson County also approved incentives for a then-unnamed company. Sanderson also received a $1 million state grant that was contingent on local funds.
The company is getting an incentives package from the county that includes 75 percent tax relief over a four-year period, The Robesonian newspaper reported.
Sanderson Farms, which is based in Laurel, Mississippi, is the third-largest poultry producer in the U.S. with production of more than 9.3 million chickens weekly. It has 11,800 employees in 11 plants across the country, including Kinston.
The company expects to begin construction this summer, with initial operations beginning during the last three months of 2016. The Robeson County plant will produce 1.25 million chickens a week, said Joe F. Sanderson, chairman and chief executive officer of Sanderson Farms.
Earlier media reports said the jobs would pay an average starting rate of about $11 an hour. The company said it also will need 100 contract growers.