Sanderson Farms meets opposition in planned processing plant

16-11-2010 | | |

Sanderson Farms’ planned new poultry processing plant in North Carolina has met with considerable opposition from local residents due to environmental and water concerns.

In spite of its expected economic impact, some Nash and Wilson county residents are up in arms about the possibility of a poultry plant being built in the area.

“We keep asking our county officials, ‘Why are you putting our most important natural resource at risk?'” said Con Ward, a Nash County resident who spoke to those in attendance at a recent rally in opposition to the plans. Ward cites the impairment of the city’s water supply among his top concerns with the plant.

Water resources
“Large corporations make promises to people each and every day, and promises are broken each and every day,” he said. “We the citizens of Nash County and residents of Rocky Mount do not want to play chicken with our most important resource, our water.”

“My concerns are 100 percent environmental,” said another local resident.  While environmental issues seemed to take top billing at the rally, others were more concerned about the manner in which the decision to rezone the property was made.  “It feels like Nash County Commissioners are trying to shove something down our throats without telling us much about it,” said Wade Glover, a Nash County resident. Glover is also concerned that the construction of the plant could hinder the creation of hi-tech jobs in the region.

Lenoir County positive
However, Mark Pope, executive director of Lenoir County’s Economic Development Department, said the Sanderson Farms project has been welcomed in Kinston. “It has been a very positive impact for Lenoir County,” he said. “We probably had maybe some of the same concerns your folks are thinking about. We made visits (to Sanderson plants).”
He said they also spoke with officials in other states where Sanderson Farms operates plants and heard nothing but positives.

“We had questions about smell, about feathers,” he said. “Everyone had questions in their mind about what would happen and how it would look.” He said they are impressed by the plant that has been built and that locals are clamoring for the 400 jobs the plant is initially hiring.