USA – Case Farms Chicken is planning a US$126 million renovation and expansion project at its Winesburg, Ohio, US, facility that will enable the company to increase its processing capacity to meet the growing demand.

The project involves replacing equipment, renovating the facility, and constructing a 26,000-square-foot addition onto the existing building and a 154,000-square-foot storage freezer that will have the capacity to hold 20 million pounds of poultry.

The cost of the construction is estimated at US$65 million, while machinery and equipment is estimated at US$41.4 million and inventory of US$29 million for a total cost of about US$126 million.

Case Farms said the renovation will enable the plant to handle different size birds from the nine-pound it currently processes in the facility.

“We’re going to have roughly 180,000 square feet of new building, with freezer, cooler and loading dock. Adding 26,000 square feet, it will be just like a brand new facility,” Case Farms Senior Vice President of Operations, Charles Rigdon, said.

The new facility will enable the site to process about 840,000 pounds of chicken per week. With the increased production capacity, Case Farms will also be adding a small electric substation to meet the demands of the new freezers.

While the new facility would be outfitted to process small birds, the project will also involve construction of a VRT freezer, allowing the company to freeze their products in 20 to 22 hours.

Rigdon said that the expansion will enable North Carolina-based company to meet the growing demand. Case Farms currently operates four facilities.

Their growth is in the North, Northwest, so it makes sense for us to go up here [Winesburg],” Rigdon said.

“It will fix a lot of issues with Winesburg, and put them in a competitive position. The company wants it here. The customer wants it here. We’ve got the business. If we don’t do it here, we’ll have to do it somewhere else.”

The company anticipate retaining 274 full-time permanent employees, as well as adding 193 new permanent full-time employees after the expansion.

With a total average processing capacity of 19.6 million pounds of ready-to-cook chicken on a weekly basis, Case Farms ranks as the 13th largest poultry company in the United States.