Former Petit Jean Poultry plant in Arkadelphia, Ark., is scheduled to reopen and start producing a specialized breed of chicken exported to Asia. Vikon Farms will be spending $5.4 million to reopen the plant, which will be used to process free-range, natural chickens for the overseas market, reports the Associated Press. The facility, when opened, is expected to employ more than 170 people.

"Vikon Farms is doing more than bringing jobs to Arkadelphia; they're building agricultural partnerships with growers in our region," Gov. Mike Beebe said at a ceremony to mark the company's venture. "I know they will be satisfied with the dedicated workforce they will find in Arkadelphia and Clark County as they establish their Arkansas operation."

Vikon Farms said the company will also create jobs outside the plant by contracting with chicken growers from El Dorado and Union County as well as a Vikon-supported hatchery in Prescott.

"We appreciate the extensive amount of support from the Arkadelphia Economic Development Alliance and Arkansas Economic Development Commission," Vikon Farms President and CEO Quan Phu said. "Our expansion to Arkansas could not have been done without the unwavering assistance of the Arkadelphia, El Dorado and Prescott communities."

Source: AP