Poultry processing firm Bell & Evans officially broke ground on a new processing and packaging facility in Bethel Township, Fredericksburg, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, US, in July 2014
The new facility will increase the company's processing capacity by 20%.
The $44m chicken processing facility will package, dry-rub, marinate, grind and cook over two and half million pounds of chicken every week for fine-dining restaurants, premium butcher shops, natural food stores and selective supermarkets. It will also process other poultry such as ducks and hens.
Construction of the new facility is scheduled for completion in spring of 2015. The plant is expected to create 380 new job opportunities and generate 1,108 additional positions for the people of Lebanon County in the next three years.
Details of Bell & Evans's Bethel Township chicken plant
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Over the next ten years, the plant is expected to contribute $200m to the region and employ 350 people.
The 158,000ft² facility is being developed in 19.6 acres of land purchased by the company. The project, for its potential impact on the local economy, was coordinated by the Pennsylvania Governor's Action Team (GAT) in cooperation with the Lebanon Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC). In addition, the project receives $2.46m contribution from the state in the form of grants and tax credits.
Visually inspired by European buildings, the plant building will house packaging lines, processing lines and cooler and freezer storage facilities. Processing equipment will mostly be sourced from the Netherlands and Germany.
Bell & Evans chicken production and processing
"The $44m chicken processing facility will package, dry-rub, marinate, grind and cook over two and half million pounds of chicken every week."
Bell & Evans produces 100% natural and organic poultry certified by Pennsylvania Certified Organic (PCO), a USDA-accredited organic certifying agency.
The chickens for Bell & Evans are raised and processed in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country in modern facilities with the use of advanced technologies including air-chilled technology. Bell & Evans chicken are also grown without antibiotics and are placed on a vegetarian diet of corn, extruded and expeller pressed soy beans, with added vitamins and minerals and fresh well water. This diet helps in growing tender and flavourful organic chicken.
Bell & Evans also claim its chickens are raised in humane conditions as the birds are handled with compassion in a minimal-stress environment. The antibiotic-free, organic and gluten-free chicken products are seasoned and vacuum packed without the use of any preservatives.
Headquartered in Fredericksburg, Bell & Evans is a leading natural foods company that began operation in the 1890's. Its market reach has been significantly expanded after Sechler Family Foods purchased the Bell & Evans brand in 1986.
Bell & Evans currently produces high quality poultry products including fresh chicken, ready-to-cook and fully cooked varieties, as well as premium snacks varieties of chicken products that are supplied to upscale markets.
In addition to the Bethel Township plant, the company also plans to build another facility on a 113 acre land in Fredericksburg that can produce up to three million chickens a week.