Jennie-O Turkey Store, Willmar, Minn., began construction on a new state-of-the-art processing plant in Melrose, Minn.  

The $137 million project includes state-of-the-art processing equipment designed to increase the production capabilities and plant efficiency, in addition to enhancing the company's already robust animal handling practices.

"This investment shows the company's commitment to provide the best processing experience for our growers and to meet our customer needs," says Glenn Leitch, president. "The new equipment will enhance our animal handling practices and the increased automation will improve people safety."

The new Melrose plant is to replace an existing company plant.

"Jennie-O Turkey Store has had a long-standing relationship with the city of Melrose," says Leitch. "Melrose has been and will continue to be a great place for our company and our team to grow and prosper. We appreciate the support that the city of Melrose has shown us in getting this project off the ground."

The current plant will remain in operation during the construction process. Once the new plant is finished in early 2019, the existing plant will be partially torn down and the remainder will be used for further value-added products.