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After A Year In Operation, Plant Processes 55,000 Chickens Daily

Around a million chickens pass through the various stages of processing at Water Valley Poultry each month. The operation, which employs 155 workers, used 11,652,000 gallons of water during the month of August. – Photos by Jack Gurner

Plant Manager Phillip Tallant

By Jack Gurner

WATER VALLEY – The poultry plant began its second year of operation this week processing an average of 55,000 chickens a day.

Water Valley Poultry, LLC began operation Sept 14 of last year with only 6800 hens the first day. The company employed about 130 at the time. “We’re at a 155 right now,” said Phillip Tallant, plant manager.

The most hens processed at the plant in a five-day period were 325,000. “We can run 300,000 with overtime. But, we are trying to cut back,” Tallant added.

The plant processes light fowl, Most are spent hens that no longer lay eggs. The chickens were being brought to the plant from as far away as east Texas. However, rising transportation costs – particularly in the past six months – have affected that, according to Tallant. “We’ve drawn our circle in as far as the range we are hauling birds right now.”

Last week the City Board granted the company’s request for an ad valorem tax exemption amounting to about $10,700. “We appreciate their help,” Tallant said.

Operations are expected to continue as they are now. However, Tallant hints at the possibility of expansion in the future.

The plant, located on Lafayette Street in the northwestern part of the city, is part of Global Food Innovations, Inc., an international food company with headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Construction of the original plant was announced on Sept. 19, 1957. The facility cost $260,000 and was built with funds paid to Beat 3 of Yalobusha County for roads and bridges taken over by the Federal Government during the construction of Enid Lake.

Estimates of the cost of the current plant renovations run between $5 and $6 million dollars.

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