KY: Pilgrim’s Pride to Invest $24M in Hickory, Create 140+ Jobs | Trade and Industry Development

KY: Pilgrim’s Pride to Invest $24M in Hickory, Create 140+ Jobs

Jun 10, 2016

Gov. Matt Bevin congratulated Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., a leading poultry producer, on announcing a $24 million project to increase production and create about 140 jobs for Kentuckians at its Graves County plant.

“Pilgrim’s Pride, a strong corporate partner in Kentucky since 1990, has grown its business across the globe and has become a well-respected household name,” said Gov. Bevin. “We are thankful for the company’s reinvestment in Graves County. It will have tremendous impact on southwest Kentucky through new jobs, additional production and increased sales for area growers, farmers and feed suppliers. We are working every day to make the Commonwealth even more supportive of developments like this, and are grateful to Pilgrim's Pride for leading the way for others to follow.”

Pilgrim’s will retool its poultry processing facility in Hickory for greater deboning and marinating capacity. The project comes as part of a company-wide reinvestment plan to create more value for customers and more employment opportunities for area growers and residents.

The expansion will create up to 157 new full-time jobs, 141 of which are designated for Kentuckians as part of the company’s incentive agreement with the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. New positions include management, maintenance, production and sanitation. The investment also will cover the cost of new processing machinery and equipment. Company officials plan to clear a section of the plant and install new equipment during two weeks in October.

“We’re grateful to Gov. Bevin and the state of Kentucky for their longstanding partnership and support,” said Bill Lovette, Pilgrim’s CEO. “With this expansion, we look forward to continuing that alliance well into the future.”

Pilgrim’s produces, processes, markets and distributes poultry to retailers, distributers and foodservice operators. Pilgrim’s employs approximately 39,000 people across operations in 12 states, as well as Mexico and Puerto Rico. Its products include fresh and frozen, marinated and non-marinated products provided to more than 5,000 customers across the U.S., Mexico and approximately 90 other countries.

Sen. Stan Humphries, of Cadiz, noted the project’s impact on the local workforce.

“I thank Pilgrim’s Pride for its investment in Graves County,” Sen. Humphries said. “This move will further energize our regional economy while providing additional jobs for hard-working Kentuckians, and I welcome the news of the company’s expansion.”

Rep. Richard Heath, of Mayfield, thanked Pilgrim’s Pride and said the local workforce played a role in the company’s decision.

“Providing more than 140 Kentucky jobs, Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. has had a tremendous impact on our community,” Rep. Heath said. “I am excited for this expansion to begin as we watch the continued success of Pilgrim’s Pride in Kentucky. This project is truly a testament both to the achievements of Pilgrim’s Pride and to the hard-working Kentuckians that contribute to their success. I look forward to seeing the continued positive impact of the corporation and congratulate them on their accomplishment.”

Mayfield Mayor Teresa Cantrell noted Pilgrim’s has long made an impact on the local economy and expressed gratitude for the company initiating the project.

“Pilgrim’s is a mainstay in our economy in Mayfield and Graves County. This expansion will be far-reaching into the city and county in terms of job opportunities,” Mayor Cantrell said. “It’s what we need, and I’m proud of the leadership out there that is proactive – that’s what’s making this happen for our community.”

Graves County Judge-Executive Jesse Perry said he’s glad to see Pilgrim’s Pride expand production and employment.

“I am so proud that Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. is expanding in Graves County. This is our next step in seeing Graves County grow and prosper,” Judge Perry said. “We have already seen an impact of Pilgrim’s Pride influence with employment for many years operating in Graves County. We look forward to their continued growth and building strong ties in the community.”

Ryan Drane, president of Graves County Economic Development, said that beyond the expansion, the company’s strengthened partnerships with farmers and growers in the community are an important takeaway from the announcement.

“Pilgrim’s is an integral part to our economy in Graves County and we are excited about their plans to expand their operation,” Drane said. “From their employment at the processing plant and partnerships with local growers to their purchasing of grain from local farms, Pilgrim’s impact reaches every corner of Graves County and we are proud to have them as a part of our community.”

To encourage the investment and job growth in Graves County, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved Pilgrim’s for tax incentives through the Kentucky Business Investment program up to $1.5 million based on the company’s investment of at least $12.9 million. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets. 

In addition, Pilgrim’s can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies are eligible to receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. Last year, the Kentucky Skills Network trained more than 84,000 employees from more than 5,600 Kentucky companies.

For more information on Pilgrim’s, visit

A detailed community profile for Graves County can be viewed here.

Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook or follow on Twitter. Watch the Cabinet’s “This is My Kentucky” video on YouTube.

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