FRANKLIN COUNTY, GA. — Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation announced Feb. 25 plans to construct a $70 million, state-of-the-art pet food ingredient plant in Franklin County, leveraging its poultry processing operations to produce sustainable chicken byproduct ingredients for the industry.

The new plant will build off an existing plant near Carnesville, adjacent to Interstate 85. It is expected to create 90 permanent jobs in the area offering quality pay, as well as 100 construction and trades jobs during construction and development.

The facility will include several cutting-edge technologies to meet high quality and sustainability standards. These include: the latest odor-elimination technology to prevent odors from entering the area surrounding the plant; an on-site water treatment plant that exceeds state water quality standards; and indoor receiving bays to receive and clean trucks inside the plant.

“Pilgrim’s is pleased to announce this significant investment in Franklin County, which will grow our company’s already substantial footprint in Georgia,” said Mark Glover, head of Pilgrim’s protein conversion division. “Following all necessary reviews and approvals from Franklin County and state officials, the plant built here will be truly state-of-the-art, ensuring that jobs and positive economic development are created in a way that safeguards and promotes the sustainable use of natural resources.”

By processing chicken byproducts into nutritious pet food ingredients, Pilgrim’s hopes to add value back into otherwise wasted ingredients to support the environment and the agricultural economy. Pilgrim’s stated that landfill capacity throughout the United States would be completely full within four years if not for the conversion of byproducts into value-added ingredients for other industries, including pet food.

Pilgrim’s already operates several facilities throughout the state of Georgia, employing more than 8,000 people and contributing over $152 million each year to local growers. Pilgrim’s annual payroll for its Georgia operations exceeds $440 million, and the company has invested nearly $270 million in capital investments throughout the state over the last five years.

“Pilgrim’s is a valued and long-time partner to our state and Georgia’s poultry and agriculture industries, providing jobs and opportunities for Georgians,” said Pat Wilson, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “As Georgia’s already significant food processing footprint also continues to grow, Pilgrim’s consistent decisions to choose Georgia for future investments is a testament to the workforce and numerous other benefits businesses find here.”

When completed, Pilgrim’s projected the plant will contribute $65 million annually to the regional economy through direct and indirect spending. It will also generate more than $1 million in local tax revenues per year.

“Pilgrim’s is an important anchor tenant in Georgia’s poultry and overall agribusiness industry,” said Gary W. Black, Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture. “The proposed investment demonstrates a long-term commitment to the community and state. I commend Pilgrim’s leadership team and all who have helped get this project across the finish line.”

Across the United States, Pilgrim’s operates more than 30 meat, poultry and prepared food manufacturing facilities and employs more than 31,000 people.

Read more about pet food and treat processing on our Operations page.