Nash County chicken plant announcement angers landowners

Posted August 28, 2012
Updated August 29, 2012

— Sanderson Farms Inc. announced Tuesday that it has selected Nash County as the "site of a future new poultry complex" near Rocky Mount. The news angered a local landowners association, which accused the company of making a backroom deal.

The Nash County Board of Commissioners voted 5-2 in March to support the proposed chicken processing plant that has created a bitter battle over the economy and the environment.

The company purchased 26 acres in December near the intersection of N.C. Highways 97 and 58, a few miles north of the Nash-Wilson county line.

"Construction of the Nash County (chicken plant) facilities remains subject to other contingencies, such as obtaining the land on which the processing plant will be built, obtaining the necessary permits to construct and operate the facilities and obtaining acceptable economic incentive permits from the State of North Carolina and the local government," Sanderson Farms said in a statement.

Supporters say the plant would create more than 1,000 jobs in an area where the unemployment rate was 12.4 percent in July. Opponents say that the county risks contaminating area water supplies and creating an environmental hazard by allowing the plant to open.

"Sanderson Farms announcement just confirms the worst kept secret in town. This project was already a done deal made in backrooms before the public knew about it," the Nash County Landowners Association said in a statement. "They only started pretending it was not a done deal after the lawsuit was filed, but Nash County citizens are not fooled."

The City of Wilson sued to block the proposed plant, alleging that it could threaten the city's drinking water supply.

In an Aug. 23 letter to Gov. Bev Perdue, Wilson Mayor C. Bruce Rose compared the city's fight against the chicken plant to the governor's fight against fracking.

"(Gov. Perdue), you said, 'Our drinking water and the health and safety of North Carolina's families are too important; we can't put them in jeopardy by rushing to allow fracking without proper safeguards,'" Rose wrote. "I agree with you most of the time but never have I agreed with you more. In fact, if you remove the word fracking and insert massive chicken growing operations, your quote is almost identical to several of my own."

Sanderson Farms Sanderson Farms selects Nash County for new facility

Perdue responded and asked both sides to "resolve their differences in a way that grows and protects jobs" in Nash and Wilson counties. "It is important in the current economic environment for us to be growing jobs – but it is also important to be sensitive to the concerns of existing industries," she said.

Wilson City Attorney Jim Cauley released a statement Tuesday, saying that "it would be improper to make any comments at this time regarding the (chicken plant) announcement" since they are in the middle of a mediation process.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Mustang Sallie Sep 4, 2012

    driverkid3... I would take that bet! Let's be realistic... over 1,000 jobs would be filled with "undocumented immigrants"...really? What is your objection...? Do you not like undocumented immigrants? Exactly what would happen if there were 1,000 undocumented immigrants working there? You need to tell me more. Are you saying the plant in Kinston has 1,000 undocumented immigrants working there? Kinston seems VERY happy about the chicken processing plant they have...?

  • superman Aug 29, 2012

    If the plant is so bad how are they in business. Someone must be buying the chickens. As an American we get to make our own choices but does that mean we get to pick and choose our neighbors. If so I like to get rid of two families that live close to me. Hire a contractor and anyone else and see how many illegals show up to work. You getting a good deal and when you getting the benefit the tune kinda changes. It is only when someone else benefits from the illegals that you complain.

  • driverkid3 Aug 29, 2012

    @ Mustang Sallie for this:::If it means helping to bring a steady paycheck into my family... I would be glad to work one of the jobs

    I'd bet dollars to donuts if you are an American citizen you would not be able to get one of those jobs as they will be using "undocumented immigrants." That has been my main objection to this business locating in the county.

  • lessismore Aug 29, 2012

    People should visit a chicken slaughter house, it's horrible, disgusting, unsanitary. Chicken feet, feathers, heads, intestines are conveyored outside on a cement slab.....rolling with magots in the hot sun. A front-end loader runs continuiously filling trailors that haul it off, or dump it into the river when they get too far's cheaper to pay the fine for river dumping than haul it away.....The pugnant stinch is so strong employees and nearby residents actually get sinus infections from the smell..... Thanks Nash County....I have visited a slaughter house. Leaders of Nash County would have you believe you can have a pic-nik on a blanket on at the river where their waste is disposed.

    Proximity of I-95 and a river is the only reason this facility is being built. It just happens that it is near housing communities that will lose the value of their homes and properties.

  • lessismore Aug 29, 2012

    "Supporters say the plant would create more than 1,000 jobs in an area where the unemployment rate was 12.4 percent in July."

    However, 90% of these jobs will be given to illegals......
    Where will Sanderson Farms find 1000 people who would rather work and give up their welfare and entitlements? Government pays more than minimum wage. Here comes another 1000 illegals from surrounding areas. This plant will do nothing to help Nash county, and it won't lower the unemploymet rate. Who elected the people that made this decision?

  • djofraleigh Aug 28, 2012

    producing chickens is a real product, and not a service industry!

  • southernstranger Aug 28, 2012

    Nash County is ranked among the top ten mot impoverished areas in the US. They should be happy to get any jobs at all, especially the ones that do not depend on the government. It's a pitiful area that needs all the help they can get, regardless of how bad the jobs are............

  • djofraleigh Aug 28, 2012

    If chicken plants are too dangerous, then the others in the state should be closed, shouldn't they?

  • See Chart Aug 28, 2012

    I wonder in a huge rainstorm or Hurricane how Sanderson Farms
    will keep the reservoirs that hold chicken waste products from
    overflowing and ruining the water supply of Nash & Wilson counties?

  • stix16 Aug 28, 2012

    A lot of community would jump at the chance to attract a company that is going to create over 1000 jobs with the economy in the shape it is. With the response that speculates on who would fill these jobs is all because we as Americans think that we are to good to do this type of work and have been raised with a silver spoon in our mouths. If you would take the time to get to know some one and maybe walk in there shoes you may just understand.