In September 2017, Simmons Prepared Foods announced plans to build a new chicken processing facility in Benton County, Arkansas, US.

Estimated to cost $300m and expected to commence operations in 2019, the facility will manufacture both fresh and frozen chicken products to meet growing demand.

Construction on the new plant officially began with a site dedication ceremony in June 2018. The new facility will relocate Simmons’ existing plant in Decatur and is expected to create more than 1,500 new jobs, which will increase to more than 2,300 by 2022.

Simmons Prepared Foods’ chicken processing facility location

The new plant is located 2.2 miles (3.5km) from Simmons Prepared Foods’ existing processing facility in Decatur. It is located in Benton County between the cities of Decatur and Gentry.

The site lies in close proximity to Bordering Highway 59 and the railroad.

Design of Simmons’ chicken processing facility

The new plant will be built on 870 acres of land and will have a built-up area of 315,000ft². It will feature modern production facilities equipped with state-of-the-art technologies and include 40,000ft² of contemporary office space.

Production lines at the new plant will also feature additional chicken processing facilities.

Simmons plans to sign new contracts with farmers in Arkansas to raise chickens for the new facility and construct 218 new barns. Half of these will be added to existing farms.

The company also plans to move some of its processing operations from its Decatur facility to the new plant.

Products and capacity

Simmons will produce chicken products for the retail and restaurant market at the new facility. At full capacity, it is expected to produce more than 850 million pounds (385 million kg) of meat a year by 2022.

Sustainable features of the new facility

The new Benton County facility will meet the requirements of land, air and water quality permits, as well as use the natural land buffer for 0.5 miles (0.8km).

Simmons plans to introduce a new fleet of tanker trucks for hauling waste products from the facility.

Financing for Simmons’ new chicken processing facility

The project is supported by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) and has been granted a place on the payroll rebate programme for a period of seven years. Simmons will also receive a sales and use tax refund on construction materials.

Infrastructure costs for the facility are being funded through the Community Development Block Grant Programme (CDBG). Water and wastewater lines for the new facility have been extended by the City of Decatur.

The AEDC is further supporting the development by collaborating with the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department to construct a turning lane and stop light at the intersection of Highway 59 and Y city road in Decatur.

Marketing commentary on Simmons Foods

Founded in 1949, Simmons Foods is an Arkansas-based supplier of poultry, pet products and food ingredients operating under Simmons Pet Food, Simmons Feed Ingredients and Simmons Prepared Foods.

Simmons Feed Ingredients specialises in the production of ingredients for the pet food and animal feed industries, while the pet food division is a contract manufacturer of wet and dry products.

The prepared foods division of Simmons is a farm-to-fork poultry producer, operating three hatcheries and two feed mills, as well as more than 20 managed firms processing 200 million birds a year to produce more than 750 million pounds of meat products annually.