Poultry Plant Becomes Operational In 2007, Windsor Will Follow

Chickens have been processed in Water Valley at the Lafayette Street plant location for almost 50 years. After being closed for several years, a new company began processing chickens in June adding more than 100 jobs to the community. Photo by Mark Anthony

Jobs are always big news, and  after almost two years of delays approximately 122 jobs were created as Water Valley Poultry, LLC began processing chickens on September 13.

The plant opened in a 50-year-old facility on Lafayette Street in Water Valley that has housed a string of previous companies who processed poultry. Production has continued since the opening date, although not being able to obtain enough chickens to process has caused to plant to temporarily stop production several times.

The plant processes light fowl. Most are spent hens that no longer lay eggs. The chickens are being brought to the plant from Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and as far away as east Texas.

After processing some are exported to China and some are used for breast meat, according to Plant Manager Phillip Tallant.

 Just months prior to the poultry plant opening, another announcement spelled out more jobs for Yalobushians – this time on the far west end of the county near Oakland.

Windsor Quality Food Company officials announced in June that it had completed is acquisition of the 140,000 square-foot manufacturing facility from Community Bank. Company officials also announced that it would immediately began renovating the former beer processing plant, which was constructed in 2003.

    Windsor Foods’ investment in the facility is an estimated $15 million. An additional estimated $1 million investment coming from the state in the form of a Community Development Block Grant and $70,000 from Yalobusha County providing in-kind work closed the deal.

Yalobusha supervisors had spent months negotiating with the company prior to the announcement. The county owns the infrastructure and property at the site – making the county’s involvement an intricate part of the deal.

    The company is expected to put 150 people to work in the first year, and promises – by way of a lease agreement – to put 250 people to work within three years. Of the 250 positions, 150 must be moderate to low-income.

    Windsor Foods produces high-quality frozen foods for the consumer market, restaurants, and food service operations. The company operates 27 production lines and nine manufacturing plants in six states.

    Supervisors worked diligently in the fourth quarter of 2007, providing the promised in-kind work for the Community Development Block Grant that had been awarded to the county. Windsor Food had to make modifications to the former beef plant to accommodate their business plan. The company had originally announced an expected early-2008 opening date, but design changes may push the opening date back.

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