Sanderson Farms nixes plans for Nash poultry plant

Posted November 13, 2012

— Sanderson Farms Inc. announced Tuesday that it no longer plans to open a poultry processing plant in Nash County, citing ongoing legal challenges to the project.

The Mississippi-based company in August unveiled plans for a "poultry complex" on 26 acres the company bought in December near the intersection of N.C. Highways 97 and 58, a few miles north of the Nash-Wilson county line.

The prospect of a poultry plant has divided area residents for almost two years, however.

Supporters argued that the plant would create more than 1,000 jobs in an area with high unemployment. Opponents maintained that the county risked contaminating area water supplies and creating an environmental hazard by allowing the plant to open.

Two Nash County residents filed suit in September to block the plant, alleging that county officials secretly voted to spend $1.2 million to buy land for the plant to recruit Sanderson Farms to the area.

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

"While we are disappointed that Nash County will no longer be considered for this project, we understand the need for certainty with respect to Sanderson Farms' ability to move forward with construction in a timely manner once the other contingencies are met," Robby Davis, a member of the Nash County Board of Commissioners, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, various legal challenges will not allow us to meet Sanderson Farms' schedule without the possibility of delay."

Company Chairman and Chief Executive Joe Sanderson Jr. said construction of a new processing plant in a different location would remain on hold until market conditions improve, including the supply and price of corn and other feed grains.

"We remain committed to our growth strategy and, toward that end, have been evaluating and will continue to pursue alternative locations that will enable us to continue our pattern of steady growth," Sanderson said in a statement.


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  • They call me CATMAN Nov 15, 2012

    My Brother works at a Meat Processing in Il. He said that over 80% of the people who work there are undocumented (ILLEGAL) works the people who run the plant look the other way knowing that these workers won't complain. This is what would have happened at the SF plant.

  • iamcurious Nov 14, 2012

    Folks living within a quarter mile of the proposed plant stood to lose almost the entire value of their homes. Within 1-2 miles, 25% or more. It was almost certain that the wells in the area would dry up. Being located 3/4 mile from the Tar River, it was also a good bet that polution would end up there. When all factors were weighed together, the jobs weren't as attractive as they seem when nothing but jobs was considered. This wasn't a case of an open and shut single issue. Now it's time to torpedo the political aspirations of Robbie Davis and other pro chicken plant commissioners.

  • btneast Nov 14, 2012

    were selling out our precious water supply for 1,100 low-paying jobs -

    Unfortunately, low paying manufacturing jobs are about all the labor pool for that area can satisfy. The workforce, on average, isn't skilled enough to attract the higher paying , more technical jobs. This particular deal may have been flawed, but food processors locate in areas like this for a reason.

  • Silver bullet1 Nov 14, 2012

    1100 potential jobs for the area lost. Thank you Wilson. As for the environment, it would not pollute the water table no more than septic tanks do in the area. Wilson's Drinking water supply partly comes from a swamp in the Bailey-Middlesex (Nash County)area anyhow.

  • gnewsome1 Nov 14, 2012

    Good point Superman and others. Wonder how many hypocrits on here eat chicken? Better put, who on here does not eat chicken? Maybe 1-2 treehuggers. NIMBY.

  • Joe Friday Nov 14, 2012

    Maybe now Nash County should take the City of Wilson up on past offers to work together to bring desirable, decent-paying industries into this area. I would not blame Wilson if they told Nash County to “take a hike.” I would bet, however, that Wilson would be willing to work together so that the two-county area would prosper.

  • Joe Friday Nov 14, 2012

    This is truly a victory for Nash County (and surrounding area) citizens and the health and welfare for their children’s future. The proponents for SF are made up of two factions, those few who would profit financially and those many who are naive in thinking that SF would provide jobs for Nash County’s (the local) unemployed. Hopefully, our environment and way of life now are not threatened by SF, a company known for water polluting (#1 in Texas) and providing low-paying jobs that eventually would be filled by non-local workers.

    Finally, a few determined citizens that could see SF for what it is, with its carpet-bagging promises and snake oil goods. These citizens stood fast, hollered loudly and were heard. Not heard by their leaders, but by SF, realizing it needed to peddle its goods somewhere else. Five of the seven Nash County Commissioners were easy pickings, but thankfully, not all the county’s citizens.

  • grantrmt Nov 14, 2012

    This area is hurting. Many in the area saw this as an opportunity to help those in need. Those without jobs certainly saw this as an opportunity. I guarantee you there were not jobless people sueing to keep this from coming. We had several wealthy individuals fighting this for political or personal gain. One of the newly elected board members is related to the area's biggest farmers. Therefore, she is directly related to poluting the same drinking water she claims to protect at a higher rate than Sanderson ever would have. Of course, she is out to protect us from others when we need protection from her. How about many of you who voted for Ms. Barnes start asking her to stop the polution going on right now. Then ask if she will allow the area to grow and prosper with her. Many of the others that faught Sanderson had the same intersest and they could careless about your water! My phylosophy is to open doors to better opportunities instead of shutting a door on anyone!

  • ykm Nov 14, 2012

    QB525 might be folks living in rural areas are sick and tired of seeing their environment compromised so folks in the cities can eat. Cities have chased a lot of dirty industry and business into rural areas. Can't say I blame em. Government is not interested in allowing these industries to advance and clean up their operations. It's less expensive at the moment to send dirty industry over seas. Doesn't solve anything but it does buy votes.

  • deepriver Nov 14, 2012

    Now that Townsends (Omtron) owned by the Ukranian has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy as of Nov. 9th, hopefully the courts will force the sale of the company. This man, Oleg Bakhmatyuk, has had numerous offers from several companies to buy the Townsends (Omtron) and he has refused to sell. How can a company file for chapter 11 when its not even in operation? It has been closed for almost 14 months. There are a lot of farmers and former employees, including the Town of Siler City who would love to see Sanderson or some other poultry integrator reopen this company.