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Idaho To Get $2.75M Poultry Plant

Poultry Products International plans to build a $2.75 million chicken processing plant near Interstate 84, according to the economic director for Burley.

BURLEY, Idaho (AP) -- Poultry Products International plans to build a $2.75 million chicken processing plant near Interstate 84, according to the economic director for the Idaho town of Burley.

Doug Manning also said the project includes a hatchery and other facilities at more remote locations that have not yet been named.

Zoning changes and permits approved in 2010 are still in place for the project that was restarted in November 2009 following several years of languishing, he said.

"The progress they've made since then has been pretty remarkable," Manning said.

Negotiations are still being held and it's unclear when construction might start, but it could be as soon as this year, he said.

"It's a lot closer than most people realize," Manning told the Burley City Council Tuesday.

At a city zoning meeting last spring, Kimberly developer Jim Primm spoke for the company and said it had already purchased 112 acres south of Interstate 84 for the project.

Officials estimate the project could create 1,000 construction jobs over two years and as many permanent jobs when construction is finished.

State lawmakers have been trying to plan for the arrival of large poultry confined animal feeding operations. Such facilities would fall under the oversight of the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, rather than the Idaho State Department of Agriculture.

At attempt by Sen. Tim Corder, R-Mountain Home, to change oversight of poultry plants to the agriculture department failed last year, and he said he's not sure if he will put forward another bill this year.

"Right now, large poultry operations are not regulated," Corder told The Times-News Wednesday. "I suppose if an operation was large enough it would come under the scrutiny of the DEQ, which has the outline for rules but no substance for them."

Corder opposes a proposal being discussed in the House that would bring poultry and pigs under the oversight of the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, because the plan doesn't have the protections contained in his 2010 plan for the two types of operations.

"They are very different operations," Corder said. "On the poultry side, they don't require lagoons and everything is enclosed, so they don't have the environmental risks. They're really pretty clean."

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