Combining hard-working farmers and a business friendly environment is yielding a positive economic impact on Southeast Alabama.
In early August, Wayne Farms LLC broke ground in Ozark on North America’s largest poultry feed mill. When complete, it is expected to churn out 25,000 tons of feed weekly to support the company’s 42,000-square-foot Dothan processing plant.
The $53 million feed mill, set to open in 2017, will employ about 88 workers in manufacturing, transportation and administrative positions with an annual payroll of $3.1 million, said Wayne Farms President and CEO Elton Maddox. The mill and processing plant expansion will create 588 new jobs in the area, he said. In all, the expansion will have an economic impact of $160 million.
Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell said the announcement is an example of how agriculture continues to drive the state’s economy.
“This is great news for our state, the poultry industry and our organization,” said Parnell, who also serves as Alfa Insurance president. “This announcement may give current poultry farmers an opportunity to expand and others a chance to enter the business. It’s also good news for our insurance company as we work to provide products and services to help our farmer members.”
Maddox said his company is looking forward to expanding in Alabama.
“A robust local workforce, strong support from the community leaders and businesses in the area, and the opportunity to more efficiently provide feed for our company makes the decision to invest here an easy one,” he said.
Dale County Farmers Federation President and poultry farmer Chris Carroll said the feed mill is a welcome addition to Alabama’s largest industry.
“It’s going to be great for farmers in this area,” said Carroll, who also serves as a Dale County commissioner. “It’s going to enable more farmers to incorporate poultry houses in their operations. We’re very happy to have this feed mill here.”
The new feed mill means an additional 165 chicken houses, a $60 million investment, will be built in the Wiregrass. Through partnerships with other companies, investments in the Wiregrass will exceed $160 million, according to a Wayne Farms’ press release.
A recent survey by Auburn University showed poultry and egg production pumps $15.1 billion annually into Alabama’s economy and is responsible for 86,237 jobs.
Wayne Farms LLC is the sixth-largest vertically integrated poultry producer in the U.S. with annual sales exceeding $1.9 billion. A subsidiary of Continental Grain Company, Wayne Farms owns and operates 11 fresh and further-processed facilities throughout the Southeast, produces more than 2.6 billion pounds of poultry products each year, and employs more than 8,900 workers.