Peco Foods to invest $165 million, add 1,000 jobs in NE Arkansas

Tuscaloosa, Ala.-based Peco Foods will invest $165 million in the construction of a new fully integrated processing operation near Pocahontas in northeast Arkansas. The operation is expected to employ about 1,000 when completed.

A fully integrated facility means the company will have a processing plant, hatchery, feed mill and farm operations in the area. The processing plant and hatchery will be located just outside of Pocahontas’ city limits and the feed mill will be in Corning, according to a statement issued Monday (March 10) by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

The AEDC note also said groundbreaking on the feed mill site is set for April and the first stages of work on hatchery and processing facilities will begin in July.

The announcement was made Monday in the Governor’s Conference Room at the State Capitol, with Mark Hickman, president and CEO of Peco Foods, Gov. Mike Beebe, Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill and leadership from Randolph and Clay Counties attending.

“We are extremely pleased to formally announce this new project today,” Hickman said in the statement. “Arkansas is an excellent place to do business, and we look forward to providing new jobs and an economic boost to Randolph and Clay Counties. As we have experienced firsthand with our complex in Batesville, this state is home to an outstanding workforce that shares the goals and values of our company. I want to thank Governor Beebe and his team for their assistance in making our Northeast Arkansas expansion a reality.  We look forward to a long and very successful partnership.”

Peco acquired in 2011 the poultry operations in Batesville from Townsends, which had filed bankruptcy. Peco reportedly paid $51.4 million for the operations. In addition to the Batesville facility, the company also operates a feed mill in Newark, Ark.

Peco Foods is the 8th largest poultry producer in the United States and privately held and family operated. The company has a processing capacity of 24 million pounds of poultry per week in its six other slaughter and processing plants located in Alabama and Mississippi.

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“When Peco Foods acquired an existing Arkansas facility a few years ago, it made a significant investment in the workers of Northeast Arkansas,” Beebe said. “That investment has ultimately led to this major expansion. We are here today because Peco Foods knows the workforce in Randolph and Clay Counties has the necessary skills to take the company to the next level of success.”

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