Sanderson Farms Inc. is halfway there on a two-year timeline to bring a sprawling new poultry complex to Palestine.
Bob “Pic” Billingsley, director of development and engineering, said progress is on track and on schedule for the $124 million complex, which consists of a feed mill, hatchery, poultry processing plant and wastewater facility. 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.”
The company first notified the City of Palestine in February 2013 of its intent to build facilities in the region, with an operations start date planned for January 2015. Stop the clock today, and progress appears to be on schedule.
The $17 million, 65,000 square foot hatchery facility is under construction in Willow Creek Business Park off S. Loop 256 in Palestine, as well as the $75 million processing facility off U.S. Highway 79 South.
“The main plant hatchery as you know, there in the business park, is going well and on schedule,” Billingsley said. “That's under contract and that's being built as we speak.”
Mother nature gave a left hook to the processing plant off U.S. Highway 79 South, but other than that, plans are running smoothly there as well, he added.
“The processing plant — obviously we had to deal with weather out there,” Billingsley said. “I think we've had close to 20 inches of rain since we awarded those bids (to a general contractor). It just slowed us down some, but we're still on schedule for the start date — the first quarter of 2015.”
As for the feed mill in Freestone County, Billingsley said they're in the process of awarding bids to a general contractor, who will then commence construction.