A month ahead of schedule and right on budget, officials cut the ribbon on Monday at Farbest Foods' new turkey processing plant in the Vincennes Industrial Park. Work on the processing plant started in mid-June 2012 and was due for completion at the start of 2014.
At the event, Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann, Farbest Foods president Ted Seger and Vincennes Mayor Joe Yochum made remarks before the ribbon-cutting, which was followed by interviews with the media and tours of the new plant.
The fully-automated, 227-000 square-foot Vincennes plant will begin production on Dec. 9. Once the first shift reaches full production this year, the plant will employ 300 people. That number will rise significantly if Farbest expands to a second shift, Farbest officials report.
JFS Milling, Farbest Food's new turkey feed mill in Bruceville, began making pelleted feed in October and will employ 30 people at full production.
"We look forward to becoming a big part of an era of economic growth in Knox County and Southwestern Indiana," company president Ted Seger said at the ribbon-cutting event. Seger thanked federal, state and county officials and the cities of Vincennes, Bruceville and Bicknell – where a new turkey brooder hub is located – for their "tremendous support and acceptance throughout this process."
Farbest Foods' headquarters, original processing plant and related facilities are located in the Dubois County area. The company is one of the largest turkey producers in the U.S., shipping about one million pounds of raw fresh and frozen turkey products daily to brand-name food processors in the U.S. and around the world.
Farbest oversees the growth of its own turkeys – currently more than 10 million per year – and its first feed mill in Dubois produces 1,800 tons of turkey feed each day using locally-grown corn, soy beans and other agricultural products.
By 2014, once the Farbest Vincennes plant reaches full first-shift production, the two plants combined will process some 12.7 million live turkeys each year. That number is expected to rise consistently through 2016.
Farbest reports it chose the Vincennes site based on the availability of locally-grown grains; the potential for contracting new turkey-growing farms in the tri-state area; and the support it received from officials of Vincennes, Knox County, and Indiana's Economic Development Corporation and Department of Agriculture.