Tyson Foods announced Monday it will build a chicken processing plant in Tennessee similar to one that had been planned for northeast Kansas. State officials say Kansas is still in the running for another facility.
The chicken plant in Humboldt, Tennessee, will be similar in size and cost to one previously planned for Tonganoxie. Plans to build that plant were put on hold in September after an outpouring of local opposition.
Doug Ramsey, group president of Poultry for Tyson Foods, said multiple factors led the company to choose Tennessee for the $300 million facility.
“The location is attractive to us because of the strong support we’ve received from state and local leaders, the existing industrial park and availability of labor, as well as access to feed grains produced in the region,” Ramsey said in a media release.
Heather Lansdowne, with the Kansas Department of Agriculture, said in an interview Monday that Tyson officials sent word before the announcement to say they’re still looking at possible locations in Kansas.
“We have known from the beginning of the process working with Tyson that they are looking at a broader overall plan and that would include multiple facilities in multiple states,” Lansdowne said. “This is not an indicator that Kansas is off the table at all. It just means that the table is big enough for both of us.”
Tyson confirmed in a media release that the company would continue considering additional locations for expansion of its poultry business.
Local governments in Sedgwick, Cloud and Montgomery counties have been drafting plant proposals.
Lansdowne said state officials expect further work with Tyson early next year that could include visits to potential Kansas sites.
Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio, a partner in the Kansas News Service. Follow him on Twitter @kprkoranda.