By DEBORAH SHAAR
Kansas News Service
Tyson Foods is considering Sedgwick County and two other locations in Kansas as possible sites for a new $320 million poultry processing complex.
The Greater Wichita Partnership confirmed Wednesday evening that Sedgwick County was selected as a finalist.
Cloud County in north-central Kansas and Montgomery County in southeastern Kansas are also among the finalists.
Heather Lansdowne with the Kansas Department of Agriculture says 16 communities submitted proposals, and Tyson picked three for further consideration.
“We expect it to take a couple of months at this point of the process to go through the evaluation of those communities and identify which one of them is the best fit for this project,” Lansdowne says.
Lansdowne says the department helped narrow the search after more than 30 communities expressed interest in the project during the past few weeks.
“Agriculture makes up 45 percent of economic contribution in the state, so to grow the economy in Kansas, we really need to grow agriculture,” Lansdowne says. “A project of this magnitude would be a big boost for Kansas and for that local community, and the region around that community.”
The project would bring 1600 jobs to the community where it’s eventually located.
Jaimie Garnett, executive vice president of strategic communications for Greater Wichita Partnership, says they’ll continue to work with other stakeholders throughout the region to offer a consolidated consortium to the company.
“We are excited to continue with this process and discuss this potential project with Tyson,” says Garnett.
Tyson originally proposed to build the facility in Leavenworth County, but local leaders withdrew support in late September following public opposition.
The company is looking at locations in Kansas and other states for a community that has the infrastructure, labor pool, farmer interest and land required for the investment.
Tyson has five food plants in Kansas.