Dorada Poultry, Oklahoma City, Okla., said it expects by mid-2011 to operate a former Tyson Foods Inc. plant in Ponca City, Okla. Officials said the 180,000-sq.-ft. operation will provide chicken products to McDonald’s U.S. restaurants and is expected to employ approximately 350 employees, five days per week, 24 hours a day.

Dorada Poultry is a joint venture between principals of Lopez Foods, Inc. of Oklahoma City and Tyson Foods, based in Springdale, Ark.

"We are proud to become members of the Ponca City business community and look forward to becoming a model of corporate citizenship," said Dorada Poultry Chairman and CEO Ed Sanchez. "With an anticipated economic impact of $7 million per year in payroll, we will make a major economic contribution to the region where our employees will live, work and play. We want our workforce to be proud to call Dorada Poultry their employer."

Added Donnie Smith, Tyson president and CEO, "This innovative venture will enable us to expand Tyson's involvement in providing a reliable supply of safe, consistent quality chicken that meets McDonald's high standards. We look forward to supporting Dorada Poultry's production of great food for a very important customer."

The Dorada Poultry principals also operate Lopez Foods, which specializes in further processed protein products such as fully cooked beef patties, breakfast sausage, and chicken, individually quick frozen (IQF) beef patties and a variety of other pork, beef and chicken products. Lopez operates an 185,000-sq.-ft. plant in Oklahoma City with a workforce of 500 and is also the parent company of Campos Foods Inc., with an 85,000-sq.-ft. in Caryville, Tenn.

Perch processor Bell Aquaculture LLC said Indiana Lt. Governor Rebecca S. Skillman and the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) recognized Bell's Albany, Ind., plant and aquaculture operations for excellence in progressive farm practices. Bell President & CEO Norman McCowan said Bell recently completed the voluntary ISDA Certified Livestock Producer Program in order to qualify for the review and is the first aquaculture facility in Indiana and one of only a few in the nation to receive this type of designation.

Bell was founded in 2005 in Albany Indiana. McCowan said Bell's 53-acre this yellow perch farm is the largest in the country. Bell's production facility incorporates 43 acres of ground and officials hope to process more than 6.5 million fish annually 2015, said McCowan. 

"We are thrilled that our operation has received this recognition," said McCowan. "The yellow perch that we’re raising, the Bell Perch™, is a higher quality product from the standpoint that there is no real possibility of contaminants entering into their food chain during their growth. We have absolute control over our water supply, since they are raised in-house there is no opportunity for bird predation, pesticides or herbicides to get into the flesh of the fish that you and I might sit down to eat.”