Turkey farms planned in western Ky.

11/21/2012 10:00 AM
By Associated Press

CALHOUN, Ky. (AP) — Turkey farms are coming to western Kentucky by way of an Indiana company.

Executives with Jasper, Ind.,- based Farbest Farms outlined plans for the venture Tuesday night at a Fiscal Court meeting in McLean County. The Messenger-Inquirer (http://bit.ly/Uf4P69) reports the plans include a 50-acre brooding hub in McLean County where turkeys would be hatched and raised until they are 30 days old. At that point, the birds would be sent to one of 10 family farms that will be located in McLean, Daviess and Ohio counties. When the birds are 20 weeks old, they will be taken to the Farbest processing plant in Vincennes, Ind., said live production manager Jay Houchin.

Although residents near the farms complained about possible negative effects on property values, farmers and businesses said they were glad to see Farbest come into the area.

Farbest officials estimated the brooding facility, which will include six 30,000-square-foot barns, would be completed by the end of next year.

Farbest President Ted Seger said the company would be a good neighbor.

"We're going to live up to every law," he said. "Environmentally, we'll do the things we have to do and beyond. We'll take care of those things."

However, may homeowners said they don't want poultry operations near their homes, due to potential issues with smell, pollution and traffic.

"It has a negative effect on property value. It's not a question anymore," said Kim Ross, a resident of Pack. "If I lose half my property value, what do I have to give to my children?"

Area farmers and business owners spoke in favor of the $15 million investment in the area from Farbest.

"Everybody wants these turkeys for Thanksgiving but nobody wants the farm next to them," said Rod Kuegel, a Daviess County farmer who also farms in McLean County and has worked with Farbest. "This may let my son continue the family farm. I think it's a real opportunity for family farms. These people do care about their producers."

Chris Nelson, who represented Livermore's Advanced Feeding Systems, said the new operation would allow his company to add jobs and do more local business.

"We have approximately 350 poultry houses in our county (worth about $250 million in property value). That property value obviously means revenue, and we very seldom have opportunity for economic development," Nelson said. "We're very excited that they would come here and allow us to work at home and also because of what it would mean for our company. We're very excited about the opportunity to partner with them. We feel it will mean four to five full-time positions for us alone. We're hoping this project moves forward as scheduled."

Seger said several area farmers have expressed interest in working with Farbest.

"It's because of our business model and our history of doing things the right way," he said. "Customers want more of our turkey. That's the reason we're expanding now."


Information from: Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, http://www.messenger-inquirer.com

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