Tyson has announced that it will add 240 jobs to its plant in Hope, Ark. The company plans to install new product chilling and processing equipment in a $13 million investment.

The company also asked for a slight increase in the size specifications for the chickens raised by contract poultry farmers, reports Arkansas Business Online. That change will require the development of additional chicken houses.

"This initiative reflects our determination to make sure our complex continues to raise and process the highest quality chicken in the most efficient way possible," said Randy King, manager of Tyson's Hope poultry complex, in a press release. "We're also pleased our reinvestment will bring new employment, an increased payroll and additional grower opportunities in the community."

Source: Arkansas Business Online

Cargill employee wage dispute to go to court

A trial has been ordered for next month in a class-action lawsuit against Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. over wages at its Schuyler meatpacking plant, reports the Associated Press. Former Cargill workers sued last year, saying hourly employees spend a substantial amount of time each day on work duties without getting paid. Those duties include dressing in protective gear, sanitizing tools, and walking to and from work stations.

The former workers say federal law requires the company to pay for preparation and cleanup time. Cargill denies any wrongdoing and says the union contract specifically excludes that time from paid time.

The trial is set to begin Dec. 13 in U.S. District Court in Lincoln.

Source: Associated Press

Georgia poultry plant tour doesn't stop concerns over proposed N.C. plant

Opponents of a proposed Sanderson Farms chicken processing facility in Nash County, N.C., were given a tour of a similar plant in Moultrie, Ga., but the results did not eliminate their reservations about the proposed plant.

Con Ward and James L. Ricks visited a Sanderson Farms poultry processing plant in Moultrie, Ga., on Wednesday with members of the Rocky Mount City Council and the Nash County Board of Commissioners, reports the Rocky Mount Telegram. Area officials say the Georgia facility mirrors a plant that could get the green light to be built in Nash County.

Ward and Ricks, who along with hundreds of others have lobbied against the proposed facility, said that they did not see any environmental concerns and did not detect any foul odors emanating from the plant. Both men said they agree there still are unanswered questions about the plant and will continue their protests until further studies are conducted about possible long-term impacts to air, water and land resources.

Ward said he was concerned about the quality of the water that was being recycled into the plant for usage and complained that he was not allowed to enter a chicken house, to see how the birds are handled and how the company handles the waste.

“We’re talking about (thousands) of chickens that could occupy our county and surrounding areas. That means there’s going to be a lot of poop,” Ward said in a telephone interview. “I have no confidence as of yet to how Sanderson Farms plans to handle all of the waste being generated by the chicken houses.”

Source: Rocky Mount Telegram

Pat Boone Meats wrangles first partnership

Pat Boone All-American Meats, which officially launched just last week, has picked up its first partnership with The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). The partnership recognizes the steak brand as the "Official Steaks of the PRCA and Wrangler National Finals Rodeo" and includes a number of promotional opportunities over a two-year term.

"The great sport of ProRodeo was built on the family values -- character, loyalty and patriotism -- that shaped this nation," stated PRCA Commissioner Karl Stressman. "It's also no secret that our members and fans enjoy premium steaks, which is why we're proud to add Pat Boone All-American Meats to our roster of national partners that exemplify the values ProRodeo was built upon."

"The cowboy is an American icon of the highest order, symbolizing the rugged determination and adventuresome spirit that make this country great," Boone said. "And, no one knows a good steak better than a real American cowboy. We're thrilled to have the endorsement and support of this legendary organization."

As part of its initial launch, Pat Boone All-American Meats plans to make a splash at the 2010 WNFR, offering ProRodeo fans a "Taste of What Makes America Great" with free samples of their premium steaks in the ProRodeo Zone nightly throughout the competition set for December 2-11 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

"I know the fans are going to love these tender and juicy steaks as much as I do," said Ryan Gray, the PRCA world record-holder in bareback riding. "And, I really admire Pat's mission to restore family values and help others in need. A great steak for a great cause – it's a winning combination."

Source: Pat Boone All-American Meats