Tyson to build state-of-the-art chicken operation near Tonganoxie, KS

In response to strong consumer demand for chicken, Tyson Foods, Inc. has announced plans to build a $320 million poultry complex in eastern Kansas.

The company will construct a processing plant, hatchery and feed mill near the city of Tonganoxie, in Leavenworth County, which will employ approximately 1,600 people and contract with northeast Kansas farmers and ranchers to raise chickens. The operation, currently scheduled to begin production in mid-2019, will produce pre-packaged trays of fresh chicken for retail grocery stores nationwide.

"More people want fresh food and as one of the worlds leading protein companies, were well-positioned to provide it," said Tom Hayes, president and CEO of Tyson Foods. "We believe this new operation, which will incorporate the latest production technology, will enable us to meet the sustained growth in consumer demand for fresh chicken."

The poultry plant will be capable of processing 1.25 million birds per week, increasing Tyson Foods overall production capacity. The payroll and payments to farmers from the new operation, along with its purchase of grain and utilities, is expected to generate an annual economic benefit to the state of Kansas of $150 million.

"Kansas will be an outstanding home for this Tyson complex," said Governor Sam Brownback. "Growing Kansas means we must grow the food and agriculture sector which accounts for nearly 45 percent of the states economy. The far-reaching impact of this development will be felt by farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses and communities throughout eastern Kansas. This is a step in the right direction to further diversify and grow our states economy."

The Governor emphasized the importance of local-level support for economic development. Kansas is known throughout the world for our commitment to animal agriculture and for our communities which offer an exceptional place for companies of this quality to find a talented workforce in a business-friendly environment.

"Tonganoxie is looking forward to a successful partnership with Tyson Foods," said Tonganoxie Mayor Jason Ward. "We have planned for a development of this type for many years by making strategic investments in public infrastructure targeted to support future industrial growth. This project will bring much anticipated opportunities for local residents to enjoy the quality of life benefit of working close to home. Tyson has a long history of support for small towns and local markets. They will be a great fit for our community."

"The Leavenworth County Board of Commissioners is excited that Tyson Foods will be opening a state-of-the-art poultry processing facility in southern Leavenworth County," said Mark Loughry, Leavenworth County administrator. "This represents a significant investment by Tyson and creates new jobs at the plant for our citizens. More than that it provides an opportunity for area ag producers that was previously unheard of in Kansas."

"We believe eastern Kansas is the right location because of the availability of grain and labor, as well as access to our nationwide customer base that is accessible through the states top-notch transportation network," said Doug Ramsey, group president of Poultry for Tyson Foods. "We're grateful for the tremendous support weve received for this project from Governor Brownback, as well as leaders from the City of Tonganoxie, Leavenworth County, the Leavenworth County Development Corporation, and a host of other city, county and state officials."

Tyson Foods anticipates purchasing about 300 acres of property south of Tonganoxie and currently plans to break ground sometime this fall. The company will work with outside contractors to build the plant, hatchery, feed mill and related infrastructure and expects the construction project to involve hundreds of workers. Farmers and ranchers who have interest in raising chickens for the new poultry complex are encouraged to go to www.growwithtyson.com for more information.

"Tyson Foods is one of the largest food companies in the world, and we welcome the poultry business unit to Kansas," said Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey. "Their investment in our state is an indicator of the support and enthusiasm shown by local leaders who saw this opportunity for economic growth in their community."

For the past two years, hundreds of meetings have been held with agriculture industry leaders to discuss the opportunities in and the barriers to economic growth. These meetings led to the development of the Kansas Agriculture Growth Strategy which identified outcomes for growth for 19 agriculture sectors, including poultry. The Kansas poultry industry is currently ranked 34th in the nation in terms of egg and poultry meat sales with a total economic contribution of almost $119.5 million.

"The Kansas agriculture industry has been focused for several years on developing a strategic growth plan, and that process has identified strong growth potential in the poultry sector with available land resources, nearby feed supplies, and more. This project converts that growth potential into real economic growth in our state," said McClaskey. "Agriculture is the largest industry and economic driver in Kansas, providing nearly $68 billion annually, about 45 percent of the states economy."

Governor Sam Brownback and Senator Pat Roberts both have been strong advocates for agricultural growth in Kansas, and for this project in particular. "The Governor and our senior senator both recognize the positive economic benefits that will touch many communities in eastern Kansas," said McClaskey.

In addition to the direct benefits to the economy of Leavenworth County, the Kansas agriculture industry will see other areas of growth. The grower network will provide opportunities for family farms to diversify and add a new revenue source from managing poultry houses as well as reduced soil fertility costs from the utilization of poultry litter as an organic fertilizer. Kansas grain farms will now have a new marketing outlet in the form of direct grain contracts with Tyson Foods.

A project of this magnitude which will have significant impact on the economic growth of the region is a direct result of the collaborative efforts between public and private partners. The Kansas Department of Agriculture is committed to serving and growing the states largest industry by continuing to develop opportunities for the communities of Kansas.

Local leaders worked with several state agencies to establish this long-term partnership with Tyson Foods, including the Kansas Department of Agriculture, the Kansas Department of Commerce, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Kansas Water Office.

Earlier this year, Tyson Foods announced it was moving to No Antibiotics Ever (NAE) in its Tyson branded retail chicken products, making it the worlds largest producer of NAE. The Tonganoxie plant will be part of the continued expansion of the companys NAE offerings.

Tyson Foods currently operates facilities in six Kansas communities, employing about 5,700 in the state with an annual payroll of more than $210 million. In its 2016 fiscal year, Tyson Foods paid Kansas cattle suppliers more than $2 billion and hog suppliers more than $1.3 million. The company estimates its total statewide annual impact for fiscal 2016, including grain purchases, utilities, property taxes and charitable contributions to be more than $2.4 billion.

Photo: courtesy Kansas Department of Agriculture

Story source: Tyson release & Kansas Department of Agriculture release

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