Riceland Foods on Wednesday announced a $13.2 million expansion that will bring 80 total new jobs to its Jonesboro and Stuttgart plants.
Most of the growth is planned for the Stuttgart location, where two new packaging lines will be created, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission said in a news release. The expansion includes upgrades to existing lines and renovation of existing facilities.
Andrew Dallas, who is serving as interim president & CEO following the retirement of Danny Kennedy, said the farmer-owned cooperative is positioning itself to meet the changing needs of consumers.
“Riceland has been a key employer in eastern Arkansas for years,” he said in the release. “We’re excited about the opportunity to grow this segment of our business.”
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Ben Noble said the cooperative has been focused on growing its value-added packaged business for some time.
"Ultimately, the true beneficiary will be our farmers due to the increased margins we are able to secure," he said.
The expansion was announced during Riceland's 100th year in business. The cooperative has grown over the century to 5,500 farmer-members in Arkansas and Missouri. It employs about 1,500 people and receives, stores, transports and processes more than 2.5 million tons of grain each year.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the expansion will help Riceland continue on its path to success.
“I want to congratulate Riceland on its centennial anniversary,” he said in the release. “It is always great to see our homegrown businesses thrive and expand."
Riceland qualified for the following state incentives: The Tax Back program, which provides sales and use tax refunds on the purchase of building materials and taxable machinery, and 10 years of Create Rebate, an annual cash rebate based on the number of jobs added by a company.