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Tobacco Superplant Opening In Nash County

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NASH COUNTY, N.C. — The tobacco company, Universal Leaf, announced Friday that it is building a new superplant in Nash County, which will create more than 1,000 new jobs.

Gov. Mike Easley and other state officials were on-hand at the future site of the plant to deliver the good news.

"You are going to see high-skilled jobs at this plant. What they have agreed to do is put in a state-of-the-art facility if we can come up with a state-of-the-art worker," Easley said. "I want to do that because as long as our workers are high-skilled, we don't have to work about them being replaced by somebody over the border so quickly."

"It's going to take a lot of work to train workers to do the job here," he said.

The tobacco industry has hit some hurdles in recent years, but Universal says there is still global demand for the product. The company is spending $100 million on the project. The building will cover one-million square feet.

"Our commitment here is intended to show the world our commitment to the tobacco industry, our commitment to cigarette manufacturers," said Universal Leaf president Ray Paul.

The arrival of the plant is sort of a homecoming for Universal Leaf. About 600 people used to work at the company's Rocky Mount plant until Hurricane Floyd shut the place down two years ago.

The plant will be used to process tobacco and send the product nationwide as well as overseas.


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