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Tyson Foods to Invest $48M in Pine Bluff Plant Expansion

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Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale said Thursday that it will invest $48 million to expand its Pine Bluff poultry plant and add 70 jobs.

The project is expected to be complete by late 2021.

Executives said the plan will increase capacity to its fully cooked processing lines, which make chicken tenders, chicken strips, boneless and bone-in wings and air-fried products. It will also add automated processes to product packing lines.

“The demand for convenient, high-quality chicken products continues to grow and we’re investing in projects that meet the needs of our customers and consumers,” Donnie King, Tyson’s COO and group president for poultry, said in a news release. “We’d like to thank the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and the Economic Development Alliance for Jefferson County for their assistance and support of this project.”

According to the AEDC, the expansion qualifies for these incentives:

  • Advantage Arkansas, which provides a state income tax credit of 1% of total payroll
  • Tax Back, which provides sales tax refunds on building materials, taxable machinery and equipment
  • Up to $254,000 in customized training grants

Tyson Foods said the expansion will “accelerate the long-term growth of its poultry business and continued success” of the Pine Bluff plant, which it opened in 1991. It makes fully cooked chicken products for food service and retail customers, such as grocery stores and quick serve restaurants.

The facility employs more than 1,100 people and paid nearly $47 million in wages during its 2020 fiscal year, the company said.

In a news release, Arkansas Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston said poultry production is responsible for about 25% of the agriculture jobs in the state, and that Arkansas is one of the top five broiler producer states in the country.

“This expansion is a direct reflection of Tyson’s commitment to the Pine Bluff community and the confidence they have in our workforce,” he said.

Annual payout for farmers who raise chickens for the plant is more than $27 million. The company said it recently raised starting hourly wages there to at least $15 an hour.

Publicly traded Tyson Foods (NYSE: TSNemploys more than 24,000 people in Arkansas and says it has an annual payroll of more than $1.4 billion. The company said it paid Arkansas poultry growers more than $237 million in its 2020 fiscal year.

Earlier this month, Tyson opened its first new poultry plant in 25 years, in Humboldt, Tennessee. The $425 million processing facility is expected to employ more than 1,500 by 2023. It will produce pre-packaged trays of chicken for retail sale in grocery stores by April.

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