Gov. Kay Ivey has awarded a $300,000 grant to help provide new jobs in Franklin County.
The Community Development Block Grant will provide infrastructure to assist Mar-Jac Poultry in building a $35 million feed mill to supply the growing poultry industry in northwest Alabama and the increased nationwide demand for poultry products. The plant will employ 30 people and will increase job opportunities in the region for suppliers and other related agricultural jobs.
In addition to the 55,000-square-foot mill in the Spruce Pine community, Mar-Jac plans to build a nearby $23 million hatchery creating more jobs for poultry growers.
“Agriculture feeds America and that is especially true in rural Alabama where the poultry industry is a major employer,” Ivey said. “This project will put food on the tables for numerous families in Franklin County and northwest Alabama and will have a large economic impact on the area well beyond the 30 people employed at the mill.”
CDBG funds will help provide improvements at a railroad crossing at the main road leading to the plant and will include installing safety signals. An estimated 80 to 100 trucks, many from local farms delivering grain to the plant, will use the road.
Mar-Jac, based in Gainesville, Ga., supplies poultry products throughout the United States and numerous foreign countries.
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grant from funds made available by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“Job creation is a priority for Gov. Ivey, and this partnership between local leaders, Gov. Ivey and ADECA will lay the foundation for 30 plus new jobs in northwest Alabama” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “I join Gov. Ivey in welcoming the Mar-Jac Poultry mill and hatchery to Franklin County and congratulate the local officials who worked with the company to make this project happen.”
Ivey notified Barry Moore, chairman of the Franklin County Commission, that the grant had been approved. Local funds of $60,000 have been pledged for the project.
ADECA administers an array of programs supporting law enforcement and traffic safety, economic development, energy conservation, water resource management and recreation development.