Simmons Foods, Inc., on Wednesday announced it will build a new chicken facility in Benton County, Arkansas between Decatur and Gentry.  The company said it plans to invest $300 million in the facility, which will produce fresh and frozen chicken products for retail and restaurant customers with capacity to sell approximately 850 million pounds of poultry meat annually at full production.  The company said it expects to begin new operations in 2019.

The new facility is expected to create approximately 1,500 new jobs, brining total employment at the operation to over 2,300 people by 2022.  It will also create new contracts with local Arkansas farmers.

“We’re thrilled to bring this project to our community and are grateful for the cooperation from the cities of Decatur and Gentry, local officials, Arkansas Economic Development Commission, and the State of Arkansas, said Todd Simmons, CEO of Simmons Foods, Inc. and Affiliates.  “This project positions us to continue meeting our customers’ needs.”

Simmons’ existing operations in the Decatur, Arkansas include a feed mill, hatchery, propane business, business offices, and a chicken processing facility, along with a dry pet food production facility operated by Simmons Pet Food.  Some processing operations will transition from the existing facility to the proposed plant once construction is complete.