In response to strong consumer demand for chicken, Tyson Foods, Inc., Springdale, Ark., announced plans to build a $320 million poultry complex in Tonganoxie, Kan.

The company will construct a processing plant, hatchery and feed mill 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 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 world’s leading protein companies, we’re well-positioned to provide it,” says Tom Hayes, president and CEO. “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.

“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 state’s top-notch transportation network,” says Doug Ramsey, group president of poultry. “We’re grateful for the tremendous support we’ve received for this project from Governor Brownback, as well as leaders from the City of Tonganoxie, Leavenworth County, the Leavenworth County Development Corp. 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 Tonganoxie plant will be part of the continued expansion of the company’s no-antibiotics ever (NAE) offerings.