Peco Foods Poised To Unveil $165M Poultry Operation in Northeast Arkansas

by George Waldon  on Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 12:00 am  

Land has changed hands, financing is lined up and a formal announcement is expected March 10.

Peco Foods Inc. of Tuscaloosa, Ala., will unveil plans for a new integrated poultry operation in northeast Arkansas that weighs in at more than $165 million.

The development, first reported by Arkansas Business in early November, is viewed as the best manufacturing news in years for Randolph and Clay counties.

The most recent unemployment tally for Clay County is 12.2 percent and in Randolph County 9.3 percent. Both are preliminary figures for December.

“Peco is really going to be a big lift,” said a community leader in Corning (Clay County), who like others spoke on condition of anonymity. “They’ve been looking in the area for three to four years. We’ve been working with them since last May.”

Peco officials declined to be interviewed about the project in deference to the planned announcement at the Governor’s Office next month. Civic leaders in both counties were hesitant to talk about the development in advance of the press conference, although the project is something of an open secret locally.

Starting employment at the inter-county poultry operation is pegged at 350, a payroll that could increase toward 1,000 in the months following the plant’s scheduled January 2016 opening.

Peco will develop a poultry processing plant and supporting hatchery and truck stop facility about 2 miles south of Pocahontas (Randolph County). The plant will be built on a nearly 200-acre site near the northeast corner of Highway 90 and U.S. 67.

The company also will develop a feed mill-grain storage facility on the northern outskirts of Corning on a 168-acre site along the Union Pacific rail line.

The farmland property is north of the old Hart’s Furniture plant.

Employment here is expected to start at 40 and climb as high as 55. The project is scheduled to be operational by August 2015.

Infrastructure construction will include a rail spur and upgrading county road 142 to accommodate heavy truck traffic to U.S. 67, about 2 miles to the west.



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