Cumberland leaders to talk incentives for chicken processor

Posted September 15, 2014 5:15 p.m. EDT
Updated September 15, 2014 7:15 p.m. EDT

— The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners and Fayetteville City Council were expected to meet Monday night to talk about an incentive plan they might offer to lure the nation's third-largest chicken processor to the area.

Sanderson Farms is looking at building a plant in the Cedar Creek Business Center, a county-owned 480-acre industrial park east of Interstate 95, that could bring as many as 1,000 jobs to the area. The company would also contract with about 80 chicken farms in a five-county area to supply the plant, company officials have said.

Residents who live nearby, however, have been vocal against building the plant, citing concerns about the smell, noise, pollution and potential water contamination that might be associated with it.

For 30 years, Pat Ann Matthews has lived on Evans Dairy Road, about a mile from Cedar Creek Road.

"We are concerned and upset at what this might possibly do to the Cape Fear River," she said. "We know what it's going to do. We've been told (by an environmentalist) the Cape Fear is already in trouble."

County commissioners said they had similar reservations until they visited a Sanderson plant in Kinston, which they described as clean and state-of-the-art.

"I have stayed neutral, and I've listened to both sides, and when the time comes, I will definitely be ready to vote," Cumberland County Commissioner Marshall Faircloth said.

But some people think the plant's a done deal.

Matthews says what seems to be working well at the Kinston plant may not work well in Fayetteville.

"You're not comparing apples to apples with this community and the Kinston community. Not at all," she said.