Sunday, February 25, 2024

Pilgrim’s to expand in Georgia with new pet food ingredient plant

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CARNESVILLE, Ga. — Building on its investment in the state of Georgia, Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. has announced plans today to invest $70 million to build a state-of-the-art pet food ingredient plant in Franklin County, Ga. The new plant will create 90 permanent jobs in the county, as well as 100 construction and trades jobs during development of the facility.

Pilgrim’s estimates that the plant, upon completion, will have a $65 million annual economic impact on the region through direct and indirect spending. The project will generate more than $1 million annually in local tax revenue, helping to fund county services and local schools, the company added.

The plant will be built on a site adjacent to Interstate 85 outside of Carnesville and will employ advanced technologies to protect Franklin County’s natural resources, Pilgrim’s noted. This technology includes:

  • The most advanced available odor-elimination technology to prevent odors from leaving the property site.
  • An on-site water treatment plant to meet Pilgrim’s high clean water standards and exceed state requirements. This treatment includes the cleaning of process water and storm water that falls on hard surfaces outside.
  • Indoor receiving bays so trucks are unloaded completely inside and cleaned before leaving 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.”

“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.”

“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.”

Pilgrim’s already has a significant presence in Georgia, employing more than 8,000 people and paying local growers more than $152 million each year to support its facilities in the state. An important contributor to the Georgia economy, Pilgrim’s has an annual payroll in Georgia of more than $440 million and contributed nearly $270 million in capital investments over the last five years.

The plant will be used primarily for the production of pet food ingredients by processing chicken byproducts — an essential part of keeping the poultry industry producing at levels necessary to meet high and rising consumer demand. By processing chicken byproducts instead of dumping them in a landfill, Pilgrim’s is helping protect Georgia’s environment. Without the process of converting byproducts through evaporation and drying technologies, all available landfill capacity in America would be filled within four years.

“In the 13 months Franklin County Industrial Development Authority has been in discussions with Pilgrim’s, I have visited multiple sites that are home to pet food ingredient plants built with the most advanced available technology. Those site visits, coupled with careful examination of the technology that this plant will be built with, give me great confidence that Pilgrim’s investment in Franklin County will not only create significant positive economic impact, but will also promote sustainability and protect our quality of life,” said Lee Moore, chairman of the Franklin County Industrial Building Authority.

“I am excited about this investment by Pilgrim’s Pride as it will provide an opportunity for folks who are raised in Franklin County to continue to live and work in this community,” said State Sen. Bo Hatchett (District 50). “The proposed project will not only bring millions in economic activity to Franklin County annually, but it will also utilize state-of-the-art technology to promote sustainability.”

“It’s great news for Franklin County to see this type of investment that will provide quality high-paying jobs in the area. The infrastructure needed to accommodate this project will make us more attractive to future economic development opportunities,” said State Rep. Alan Powell (District 32).

“Franklin County is a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family. I am excited about this announcement, which will provide opportunity for our local residents to obtain quality jobs right in our community,” said John Wilkinson, president of North Georgia Technical College and a former Georgia state senator. “North Georgia Technical College stands ready to assist with any training needed to meet the workforce needs of this facility.”

“Pilgrim’s significant investments in Georgia represent the company’s strong, ongoing commitment to our state, and drive the creation of jobs and farming opportunities that are key to a thriving agriculture sector here in the nation’s leading broiler producing state,” said Mike Giles, president of the Georgia Poultry Federation.

“This is a great announcement for Franklin County and for the Agribusiness industry across Georgia,’ said Will Bentley, president of the Georgia Agribusiness Council. “As consumer demand for poultry products continues to increase, we must be able to handle additional volume at every stage of production. The investment by Pilgrim’s in this state-of-the-art facility will not only allow us to meet that demand but further grow agriculture’s role as the state’s largest industry and maintain Georgia’s status as the Poultry Capital of the world.”

Pilgrim’s anchors dozens of rural communities — operating more than 30 meat, poultry and prepared foods facilities and employing more than 31,000 people in the U.S. Pilgrim’s noted that it is committed to being a model corporate citizen and active member in the communities where their team members live and work. One example of Pilgrim’s commitment to giving back is the Hometown Strong initiative, a $20 million effort to give back to communities across America where Pilgrim’s operates. Since the program’s inception, Pilgrim’s has contributed over $3.4 million to the betterment of Georgia communities where the company’s team members live and work.

More information on the proposed plant can be found at

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