One of the country's largest chicken producers is expanding its footprint in North Carolina. Delaware-based Mountaire Farms held a grand opening this week for its new processing plant in Chatham County.

Mountaire built a 40-acre complex in Siler City. The location is the site of a former poultry plant that shut down in 2011. The company is among several producers who are growing their operations in North Carolina.

The $170 million project in Chatham County also includes a health clinic on site for employees and their family members. 

Kathy Bassett, a spokesperson with Mountaire, says the company already has two hatcheries in the area, so this location makes good business sense. She says the local workforce is also a plus.

“At peak, we will be hiring about 1,250 workers here to process our chickens," says Bassett. "It's our second processing plant that we have here in North Carolina. We have so many vendors that we contract with... local businesses. Obviously, over 100 family farms that are going to be growing chicken that's going to be processed at the plant, so we are excited to be here in Siler City.”

Mountaire's other chicken processing plant is in Lumber Bridge in Robeson County. 

Poultry is North Carolina's leading agricultural industry. Its economic impact on the state is more than $30 billion.

*Follow WFDD's Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

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