Tyson Foods debuts highly automated $300M poultry plant in VA

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Tyson Foods has unveiled one of its most automated poultry plants ever in Virginia.

The facility, which had its grand opening on Tuesday, spans a whopping 325,000 square feet at its site in the southern Virginian city of Danville. Its output will largely consist of fully-cooked Tyson-brand chicken. 

Tyson put $300 million toward the plant’s construction. Tuesday’s opening is happening over two years after the Arkansas-based company first revealed its plans for the site. 

The Danville facility’s 13 high-speed automated case packing lines and five high-speed robotic case palletizing units have helped contribute to it becoming one of the company’s most automated poultry plants. Tyson said it has also brought its “first at-scale integration of wearable armband devices to improve worker health, safety and productivity” to the plant. 

Tyson Foods plant

Tyson Foods facility

“The combination of our team and technology at Danville will strengthen our ability to better meet demand for retail and foodservice fully-cooked Tyson brand products,” Tyson Foods Poultry Group President Wes Morris said. “The Danville plant incorporates the latest technology that brings real-time intelligence to our processes, products and workplace experience for team members.”

In late 2021, Tyson indicated it would direct $1.3 billion toward boosting automation over three years. Those efforts were meant to “help the company’s facilities improve production capacity and efficiency and continue to unlock value,” it said at the time.

Tyson has said nearly 400 new jobs will accompany the Danville site. 

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TSN TYSON FOODS INC. 47.33 -0.66 -1.38%

The plant’s full production capacity will come in at about 4 million pounds a week of fully-cooked chicken products.

TYSON FOODS CLOSING 4 US CHICKEN PLANTS

Some of the products it will make include Any’tizer Snacks and Chicken Nuggets, Tyson has said.

The company‘s network of facilities across its four segments – beef, pork, chicken and prepared foods – totalled 240 at the end of September, according to its latest annual report.

Tyson Foods, also known for brands Ball Park, Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm and others, generated a total of $52.88 billion in sales over the course of its 2023 fiscal year, marking a slight decline from fiscal 2022’s $53.28 billion. It also saw a net loss of $648 million in that timeframe. 

Several years ago, popular retailer Costco established a plant in Nebraska to process birds for its rotisserie chickens and other products, according to Forbes. The facility reportedly produces 1 million on a weekly basis.

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