The new poultry feed facility was the next step in the company’s strategic plan, said Frank Singleton, spokesperson with Wayne Farms. It is replacing three older feed mills in the area and will exceed their combined production amount.
“It was a logical next step [with] our investment in south Alabama and increased small bird [production],” he told FeedNavigator. “In terms of production, the timing couldn’t be better.”
The company recently completed an expansion to its poultry production facility, which grew from being able to process about 600,000 birds to about 1.3m per week, and is expanding its number of poultry houses, he said. And, it is trying to meet customer demands for the production of smaller sized birds.
“We’re in a period of growth right now,” he said. “And it made a lot of sense from business strategy – we have all those assets in that area – to have a centralized facility to service all those needs.”
The facility will be able to produce up to 25,000 tons of poultry feed a week when brought to full production – currently, it is in test production stages, said Singleton. The 165-acre site is set to be in production 24 hours a day for five and a half day stretches.
The new location also offers a rail head, the capacity to manage multiple rail cars at a time and 6,000 square feet for feed and ingredient storage, he said.
Additionally, the technological advancement made in feed production technology provided support for the decision to add a new facility rather than retrofit an older site, he said. “There have been a lot of tech changes over the years,” he added.
“That made it an easy decision for us,” said Singleton. “We know our operation is sustainable in that region, so we knew we could make that kind of commitment.”
The site also will include a robotic sampling arm to allow for improved measurement of products and ingredients, he said.
Work on the new feed mill started about a year ago, he said. But, it took about three years to move from the idea of planning for the site to breaking ground.
The mill is anticipating needs of about 27.8m bushels of corn a year, he said. It is planning to buy about 4m bushels from the local community.
“Local birds do better on local corn,” he said.
The feed mill also is set to offer 88 new positions in the area, the company said.
“It’s a very supportive area and very positive economic development area,” Singleton said. “Not every area wants poultry plants to expand – [but, there] everybody wants it and there is a workforce there, so it really did line up appropriately for us.”
Initially feed produced will be used internally for existing farms and producers that are starting with the company, he said. But, the long-term plan looks to offer feed for others in the region.
Wayne Farms is a subsidiary of Continental Grain Company and produces more than 2bn pounds of poultry products a year, the company reported.