Peco Foods, Tuscaloosa, Ala., announced plans to build a $165 million fully integrated poultry complex in Randolph and Clay counties in northeastern Arkansas. The new facilities will include a hatchery, feed mill and processing plant and are estimated to create 1,000 new jobs.

“As we have experienced first-hand with our complex in Batesville, the state of Arkansas is home to an outstanding workforce that shares the goals and values of our company,” says Mark Hickman, president and CEO. “I want to thank governor [Mike] Beebe and his team for their assistance in making our Northwest Arkansas expansion a reality. We look forward to a very long and successful partnership.”

Construction will be in two phases, with groundbreaking of the feed mill in April, followed by the first stages of work on the hatchery and processing plant in July.

“Historically, one of the biggest challenges facing any poultry company is the treatment of wastewater and the conversion of byproducts in a manner that is environmentally appropriate as well as cost effective,” Hickman adds. “In keeping with our commitment to protect the environment, we believe the new systems will be a model for the industry.”

Peco Foods has had a presence in Arkansas since 2011 when it acquired Townsends Poultry Complex in Batesville. Peco Foods also operates a feed mill in Newark, Ark., and processes approximately 24 million pounds of poultry a week to national restaurant chains, regional foodservice distributors and retail grocers nationwide.