Bell & Evans, Fredericksburg, Pa., announced plans to open a 560,000-square-foot chicken harvesting plant in Fredericksburg in early 2020. The new European-plus harvesting plant will enable Bell & Evans to process another 2.6 million chickens per week in addition to its 1 million per week now. To support increased production, Bell & Evans estimates that it will need to increase its breeder farms by 250% and grow out farms where the chickens are raised by 250% to support its expansion.

“This is a very exciting time for us,” says Scott Sechler, owner. “We have the ongoing new harvesting plant build, and we’re also in the midst of converting 100% of our chickens to a higher-welfare breed, Das Klassenbester. These developments mean healthier chickens and more of them. We’re a great fit for farmers who want to incorporate a successful chicken business into their operation.”

Bell & Evans grows both Raised Without Antibiotics and organic chickens in houses with cement floors and curbs to prevent pests as well as natural lighting and energy efficient radiant heaters and cooling systems, and conducts full cleanout and sanitation between flocks and provides fresh litter for every flock.

Growers live within 60 minutes, on average, of Fredericksburg, where the hatchery and processing facilities are located. Bell & Evans projects to hire an additional 1,800 full-time team members to support the expansion.