Bell & Evans' $260M expansion to create more than 1,000 jobs

Will also support more than 300 Pennsylvania farms

BETHEL TWP., Pa. - A multi-million investment in a family-owned company near the border between Berks and Lebanon counties will bring more than 1,000 jobs to the area.

Bell & Evans, a poultry processing and wholesale company, plans to build a 560,000-square-foot poultry harvesting facility on 90 acres of land in Bethel Township, Lebanon County, according to an announcement from the Pennsylvania governor's office on Friday.

"Not only will it provide more than 1,000 new, full-time jobs, but it will also support operations of more than 300 Pennsylvania farms, bringing a significant boost to our agriculture sector," Gov. Wolf said. "I applaud Bell & Evans for choosing to continue their growth right here in Pennsylvania for years to come."

When it opens in early 2020, the $260-million plant will house four processing lines, each with a capacity of 600,000 birds each week. The expansion, officials said, will help meet customers' growing demand for the company's whole and value-added chicken products.

"The company's expansion here means more opportunities for our producers – both those who are already raising chickens and those who are looking for ways to diversify their operations to take advantage of growing markets," said Russell Redding, the state's secretary of agriculture.

Bell & Evans said it plans to source its chickens from farms located within a one-hour radius of the facility.

"We're excited about our growth and its positive impact for the local communities," said Bell & Evans owner Scott Sechler of Wyomissing, Berks County. "This expansion is supporting local farmers in 15 surrounding counties by expanding our grow out and breeder operations."

The state will provide the company with more than $2.1 million in job creation tax credits once the new jobs are created and $421,650 in job training funding through the WEDnet PA program.

Friday's announcement comes less than a year after the governor helped to cut the ribbon on the company's organic chicken hatchery, also located in Bethel Township.

Founded in 1894, Bell & Evans is a fifth-generation family owned and operated company.

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