In January, the last time the Herald-Press received an update on the $124 million Sanderson Farms poultry complex being constructed in the area, progress was reported to be on track, minus a few minor delays – per compliments of Mother Nature.
As of Thursday, construction is still in motion and on schedule, according to Bob “Pic” Billingsley, director of development and engineering.
“We've had to deal with elements out there, with the rainy weather since we've gotten under construction in November, but we can't control that – we just have to deal with it,” he said. “From a construction standpoint everything’s on schedule as planned – no surprises.”
The most recent step, Billingsley told the Herald-Press, is that the company awarded a bid for construction to a general contractor for the feed mill in Freestone County. This brings the entire complex – which consists of a feed mill, hatchery, poultry processing plant and wastewater facility – a little over the halfway point on a two-year timeline to plant a sprawling new poultry processing complex in Palestine, which will serve customers across the United States.
The main plant and hatchery is being constructed in Anderson County and the feed mill will set up operations in nearby Freestone County.
“Everything is going just as we planned in Palestine,” Billingsley said. “All the projects are on schedule. We've got everything under construction out there that we'll build, and we're in the process of interviewing and selecting contract producers to support the complex – independent agribusiness people out there who will build the houses and contract with us to raise the birds for us.”
Billingsley said the complex would process 1,250,000 birds a week — that's 250,000 a day or 16,800 an hour, if you don't care to whip out your calculator.