What We Know about Tyson
Wednesday, November 01, 2017
What do we know about Tyson Foods and how it fits Montgomery County?
Updated: Nov 6, 2017
We are learning more and more each day about what it would look like if Tyson Foods opened their new state-of-the art Chicken Plant in Montgomery County. What we have learned is positive thus far, and it seems to be an excellent fit based on our current infrastructure, availability of natural resources, proximity to a farming network for both grain and chicken farms, and the workforce that would be needed for such a large manufacturing process.
As the economic development organization for Montgomery County, it is our responsibility to thoroughly evaluate all options that would grow and diversify our local and regional economy and to make sure they are a good fit for our area. Over the next few weeks, we will be working diligently to answer questions, gather data on the impact that this industry would have on our area, and learn more about the process and the procedures that the poultry industry follows to ensure a safe, efficient, and sustainable process to generate food for the world.
I encourage you to send us your questions and thoughts about this exciting opportunity. We will work hard to answer your questions as they come in. Keep following our page for weekly updates, testimonials, and data we have gathered over the next couple months.
Here is what we know thus far:
1. How many jobs will there be?
• This facility would have 1,600 jobs. 1,380 hourly jobs and 120 salary jobs, with a total payroll of $45 - $50 million.
• Production jobs start at $13 per hour, with the median wage being $13.50 to $15.50/hour. Full-time employees would also receive a traditional benefit package including medical, vision, and dental plans, plus life, disability, and retirement services, the cost of which is approximately 30% of wages paid.
2. Can we fill these jobs with our current workforce?
• Unemployment in Montgomery County is 4.8%, but more important, the entire southeast Kansas region has the highest unemployment rates in the entire state. When you factor in Oklahoma with Nowata County at 5.7%, Washington County (Bartlesville) at 4.9%, and Craig and Rogers County (Owasso) at 4.8%, it’s clear that our area needs jobs, and we have available workers to fill the 1,600 positions needed.
• If new residents need support due to language barriers, we already have programs through Greenbush for our school districts and programs with the State of Kansas to accommodate these challenges.
3. Where will the new workers live?
Coffeyville alone has 97 available homes and there are 447 homes available in Montgomery, Labette, and Nowata Counties. Since announcing that we were selected as a finalist, we have been contacted by housing developers eager to meet with us.
4. How will this impact our schools?
A Tyson plant means more money into our schools with more students. This allows us to continue the innovative work that our schools are already doing, such as the School Redesign Project in the Coffeyville School District, and extend programs such as the “Safe Routes to School” program.
5. Will this bring other supporting businesses or jobs?
• This industry would bring additional small businesses, veterinarians, doctors, nurses, teachers, farmers, construction workers, etc., to our community as well to support the extra services this workforce will desire. Our area has an excellent support system for new entrepreneurs and small businesses that could likely develop with this new industry.
• We have already seen more interest in both the Amazon and Southwire Buildings due to the perceived potential that Tyson Foods could come to Montgomery County.
6. How will it affect our area roads, utilities, and taxes?
• A company this size would reverse the trend of rural population decline. It would also start to re-align our population with the infrastructure, schools, utilities that were built for a much larger city than we were even 20 years ago. This would result in a bigger tax base, potentially meaning lower taxes for everyone in the county.
• 30-40 trucks will be in and out of the facility each day at the industrial park, so the city, county, and state will need to plan for this increased traffic.
7. Do we have enough water?
• The plant will need approximately 2 million gallons of water per day, which can easily be provided by the City of Coffeyville via the Verdigris River. The Water Treatment Facility already has the capacity to handle this demand, even with the highest demand required by CVR factored into this capacity. Larger water lines will be installed to increase pressure/flow to the site and to the industrial park for the other businesses located there.
8. Will it smell?
• The plant is fresh chicken processing – meaning no cooking process and no cooking smell. The food processing business is the most heavily regulated business in the United States, with oversight from OSHA, FDA, EPA and here in Kansas, KDHE. We will work with Tyson to meet and hopefully exceed standards set by these agencies. Tyson hasn’t built a plant like this since its 1996 facility constructed in Union City, Tennessee, meaning this plant will be the most state-of-the-art facility in the United States.
• Chicken Litter (feces) is already being shipped to our local farmers from Northwest Arkansas and used on local fields. Chicken litter would be significantly cheaper for area farmers due to reduced shipping costs.
• There are guidelines, training, and best practices for farmers already well established by the University of Georgia, Auburn University, and the University of Arkansas that are available to train new chicken growers on how to best utilize, store, and sell chicken litter so that we reduce the environmental impact potential that could happen due to the quantity of chickens in the area.
9. What does the Chicken Farming Process look like?
• Over 1 million birds per week will be processed.
• Approximately 75 Farmers would be needed within an hour’s drive to raise the chickens.
• Chicken farms must have at least 7 acres per barn (house).
• Chickens being raised for meat (broilers) would live in 2-8 houses per farm (400 total houses needed). Chickens raised for breeding new chickens (breeders) will live on 13 farms with 3 houses per farm. Egg laying chickens (pullets) will live on 6 farms with only 2 houses per farm.
• Will need approximately 100,000–150,000 acres of corn to supply grain for the feed mill.
10. How does that help our farmers?
A Tyson plant means another way for farmers to diversify so they might survive tight years with lower than desirable commodity prices.
11. What happens now? What is the process?
We submitted our application to the Kansas Department of Agriculture. They submitted all applications to Tyson for review and they chose Montgomery County as one of the final three locations. We have a couple of months to work through any site issues and to allow Tyson and Montgomery County to get to know each other.
Montgomery County Action Council is available Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Please stop by during that time or call ahead so we can meet and discuss your specific questions or concerns. If you are a farmer who would like to learn more about chicken production, please contact Trisha Purdon or Paula Benson at (620) 331-3830 or TPurdon@actioncouncil.com. We want to work with you to help bring economic opportunities to this region.