Pilgrim’s Pride adding 141 jobs to Mayfield plant
Posted: Saturday, June 04, 2016 12:15 AMBY HAWKINS TEAGUE The Mayfield Messenger
HAWKINS TEAGUE | The Mayfield Messenger
MAYFIELD — The Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation plans to add 141 jobs to its Mayfield complex with a new expansion that will begin in October.
Eric Rotermund, complex manager for Pilgrim’s Pride in Mayfield, said the company would invest $24 million in the operation beginning in October. The company will retool its Mayfield poultry processing facility for greater deboning and marinating capacity.
Rotermund said $12.9 million of that investment qualified for state tax incentives, and the expansion would create 141 jobs. The company will begin hiring immediately, he said.
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority announced this week that Pilgrim’s Pride had been preliminarily approved for tax incentives through the Kentucky Business Investment program up to $1.5 million based on the company’s investment of at least $12.9 million. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.
A news release from Gov. Matt Bevin’s office said the expansion would create up to 157 new full-time jobs, 141 of which are designated for Kentuckians as part of the company’s incentive agreement with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. New positions include management, maintenance, production and sanitation. The investment also will cover the cost of new processing machinery and equipment, and company officials plan to clear a section of the plant and install new equipment during two weeks in October.
Bevin congratulated the company in the news release.
“Pilgrim’s Pride, a strong corporate partner in Kentucky since 1990, has grown its business across the globe and has become a well-respected household name,” Bevin said. “We are thankful for the company’s reinvestment in Graves County. It will have tremendous impact on southwest Kentucky through new jobs, additional production and increased sales for area growers, farmers and feed suppliers.”
Rotermund said the contracted growers and grain farmers and the complex employees all deserve credit for the company’s success. Pilgrim’s Pride is Graves County’s largest employer, and Rotermund said the Mayfield complex currently employs approximately 1,275 people.
This includes the feed mill, hatchery operations, live hauling, feed delivery, catchers and plant workers, he said.
Graves County Economic Development President Ryan Drane said the new jobs would help offset some of the jobs that will be lost when the Remington Outdoor Company closes its Mayfield plant in the coming months. Remington announced last month that the plant closure would affect about 200 people.
“The month of May was very tough for Graves County between the Remington closure and the tornado,” Drane said. “I just wanted to tell everyone I’m really amazed by how much the community has come together during this time. We are determined not to let events like that define our community and wallow in that. We are actually taking that as an opportunity to pull together and enhance our community for future generations.”
John Bevington, deputy commissioner for the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, said Graves County deserves some good news after its recent troubles. He said that under the leadership of Drane, Judge-Executive Jesse Perry and Mayor Teresa Rochetti-Cantrell, Mayfield and Graves County meet the cabinet’s view of what community economic development looks like. He said this involves recruiting and developing new small businesses and industry, taking care of existing businesses, and expanding the infrastructure needed to bring in new industry.
Perry said he was heartened to see the expansion news come in the wake of the Remington closure announcement. He said it would benefit not only grain farmers in Kentucky, but from surrounding states as well.
Rochetti-Cantrell thanked the company and said it had the city’s full support. She noted that the city had recently been milling and repaving Macedonia Street, where the complex is located.
State Rep. Richard Heath, R-Mayfield, said poultry is the No. 1 agriculture-related industry in Kentucky and Pilgrim’s Pride has a very large impact in the region. State Sen. Stan Humphries, R-Cadiz, said the expansion would be a “shot in the arm” for Graves County.
Kevin Crider, live production manager for the Mayfield complex, said the complex currently buys about 10 million bushels of corn a year to feed chickens. With the expansion, he expects to add 2.2 million bushels to that total.
The chicken producers that contract with Pilgrim’s Pride include breeders, pullet farmers and broiler farmers, Rotermund said. Crider said the company currently contracts with 542 broiler houses, 88 breeder houses and 44 pullet houses. He said the company would be contracting with 80 more broiler houses after the expansion.
“We’re grateful to Gov. Bevin and the state of Kentucky for their longstanding partnership and support,” said Bill Lovette, Pilgrim’s CEO, in the governor’s news release. “With this expansion, we look forward to continuing that alliance well into the future.”