After a tornado and the closure of a major employer, the promise of new jobs is lifting the spirits of those in Graves County, Kentucky. The county announced on Friday it's largest employer, the Pilgrim's Pride chicken processing plant, is expanding.
The company and private investors are putting a total of $24 million into the expansion. Graves County Economic Development says the company will also have to buy grain and new boiler houses for chickens. That brings a total of $50 million to $ 75 million into the area. The expansion creates a total of 157 jobs, with 141 designated for people in Kentucky.
Friday's announcement comes weeks after 200 jobs were lost at Remington Outdoor Company plant in the county, and a tornado damaged dozens of properties through the area.
"The month of May was difficult for Graves County, but we've really pulled together and decided we're not going to let those incidents define who we are," said Ryan Drane with Graves County Economic Development.
Drane says the county is picking itself up and moving forward with the announcement that Pilgrim's Pride's Hickory, Kentucky, plant is expanding to increase production. That will create new positions in management, maintenance, production and sanitation. The site's complex manager, Eric Rotermund, says the need for an a expansion comes as the restaurant industry grows. Pilgrim's pride corporation employs 39,000 people in operations in 12 states.
"To have that kind of money invested into our operation says a lot about the community; a lot about the workers, the team members in our operation; and the key leaders that are leading all of our departments out there as well," Rotermund said.
Drane says the expansion also benefits chicken farmers and feed plants through out the area.
Rotermund says $12.9 million of the expansion are approved for for tax incentives, so it will receive a portion of the taxes collected to put toward more growth.
100 Television Lane
Paducah, KY 42003