US-based chicken producer Bell & Evans has made an investment of more than $260m to develop a new poultry processing facility in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania.

A ground-breaking ceremony for the facility was held in November 2017, and completion is scheduled for early-2020.

The facility will help meet growing demand for Bell & Evans’ whole and value-added chicken products, while also supporting the company’s retail and food service business. The plant will also allow Bell & Evans to expand its organic line of products.

Bell & Evans’ chicken harvesting facility location

The new 560,000ft² chicken processing plant is located at the company’s 112-acre multi-building complex in Fredericksburg, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania. The site was purchased by Bell & Evans in 2014.

Bell & Evans’ chicken processing facility details

The new state-of-the-art chicken processing plant will have many of the same unique design features and operations of Bell & Evans’ recently completed 160,000ft² organic certified and humane animal welfare-focused chicken hatchery.

The new facility will have four processing lines, each capable of accommodating 600,000 birds a week.

In addition, the plant will incorporate supporting infrastructures such as a wastewater treatment plant, a rendering plant, a warehousing facility and a composting building.

Bell & Evans plans to source chickens from local farms located within a 60-minute drive from the facility. Additional production will be sourced from farms throughout Pennsylvania to strengthen the region’s agriculture industry.

Bell & Evans’ organic chicken products

The new facility will support a variety of Bell & Evans organic chicken products, including skinless and boneless chicken breasts, chicken thighs and drumsticks, ground organic breast meat, and breaded chicken nuggets.

“The new facility will have four processing lines, each capable of accommodating 600,000 birds a week.”

Bell and Evans’ line of organic chicken products include uncured skinless chicken hotdogs, chicken livers, whole organic chicken, and fully-cooked grilled chicken breasts.

Financing

Bell & Evans received a funding proposal from the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for a $2m grant through the Pennsylvania First programme.

The proposal also includes a $2.1m incentive under Job Creation Tax Credits and a sum of $421,650 to fund job training through the WEDnet PA programme.

In January 2018, the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority approved a loan of $11m for a wastewater treatment facility.

Project benefits

The plant is expected to generate 1,069 full-time jobs over the next three years and retain an additional 1,650 jobs to support the growth of the community.

Investments to increase the company’s breeder operations will support local farmers in 15 surrounding counties. The company also plans to expand its broiler breeding and grow out programmes to support the increase in production.

Contractors involved

The plant will be designed and constructed by Stellar, an engineering firm based in the US.

Stellar also provided design and engineering services for Bell & Evans’ facilities, including packaging lines, a processing facility and an organic-certified chicken hatchery.

Marketing commentary on Bell & Evans

Headquartered in Fredericksburg, Bell & Evans is a natural foods company that began operations in the 1890s.

The company produces high-quality poultry products, including fresh chicken, organic chicken, ready-to-cook and fully-cooked varieties.

Bell & Evans’ chickens are raised and processed in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. The company grows organic chickens in houses with cement floors and curbs, natural lighting, energy-efficient radiant heaters and cooling systems.

Bell & Evans’ retail customers include Wegmans and Whole Foods Market.