by Lance Turner
Posted 8/12/2013 01:28 pm
Updated 7 months ago
Vikon Farms, a poultry processing company based in California, announced Monday plans to locate a new processing facility in Arkadelphia that will employ "more than 172 people within four years."
The company said in a news release that it will invest $5.4 million in the facility at 125 Technology Drive in the Clark County Commerce Park, once home to Petit Jean Poultry plant. The company also said it will also contract "with a significant number" of growers from El Dorado and Union County and at a Vikon-supported hatchery in Prescott.
"We are excited to be here," said Quan Phu, the company's president and CEO, said. "We appreciate the extensive amount of support from the Arkadelphia Economic Development Alliance and Arkansas Economic Development Commission.
"Our expansion to Arkansas could not have been done without the unwavering assistance of the Arkadelphia, El Dorado, and Prescott communities."
Gov. Mike Beebe, along with local economic development leaders, appeared at an event announcing the purchase at the plant.
"Vikon Farms is doing more than bringing jobs to Arkadelphia; they’re building agricultural partnerships with growers in our region," Beebe said. "I know they will be satisfied with the dedicated workforce they will find in Arkadelphia and Clark County as they establish their Arkansas operation."
Vikon Farms will be the first company to locate in Arkadelphia and Clark County since the voters there approved an economic development tax.
"This is the type of announcement that shows exactly how working together can pay off," Shawnie Carrier, president and CEO of the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance, said. "Vikon Farms will be a name all of southwest Arkansas can be proud of."
Vikon produces a specialty breed of chicken that serves Asian markets. It says its chickens are free-range, naturally grown birds. Arkansas Business reported on Friday that a company would be purchasing the Petit Jean facility and hiring workers.
Petit Jean Poultry closed the Arkadelphia plant in April 2011 after Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale failed to renew its contract with the company. At the time, the plant employed about 385 people and had an annual payroll of about $3.5 million.