Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Groundbreaking Held for Aviagen Expansion

Aviagen and the Sallisaw Improvement Corporation (SIC) held a groundbreaking ceremony in Sallisaw Wednesday to celebrate the beginning of construction of Aviagen's latest expansion and new facility.

The new 10,000 square-foot facility is expected to be completed and operating by Dec. 31, 2019 at a cost of $1.9 million. It is expected to initially bring 45 new jobs to the area.

After the groundbreaking a luncheon was held at the Stites Room at Carl Albert State College where Sallisaw Mayor Ernie Martens stated that the construction project was a cooperative effort between Aviagen, the Cherokee Nation, the City of Sallisaw and SIC. 

"I appreciate what it will add to the community," stated Martens.

Martens also praised Buddy Spencer, SIC President, and his tireless efforts to bring the expansion and resulting 45 jobs to Sallisaw.

Spencer noted that Aviagen was initially considering building the new facility in Muskogee. "We started this process and negotiations 16 months ago. They needed around 10 acres to build. They had one and we had nine," stated Spencer.

SIC agreed to give Aviagen nine acres in return for a commitment from Aviagen for 45 quality jobs with quality benefits. "We didn't give land away. We traded it for quality jobs," emphasized Spencer. "We've got a quality company and we don't need to let them get out of town."

Bill John Baker, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, greeted Aviagen's Jason Mack, VP of Aviagen Operation, along with Corry Shadden, Aviagen Production Manager, by welcoming them to the Cherokee Nation. "Economic development is not easy. It takes a lot of work. It takes a lot less work if we can bring all of the partners to the table," Baker said. "Anytime we can create jobs it's a home run for everyone." 

"Sallisaw has been good to us," said Mack. "We would like to thank everyone involved in making this happen, especially Mr. Spencer. He really wants to see Sallisaw grow."

Aviagen's primary complex is located in Alabama. They started their Sallisaw operations in the early 1990's. They are a poultry breeding company that supplies breeding stock to integrated poultry companies such Tyson and OK Foods. They do not produce meat stock. Chicks from Sallisaw are delivered throughout the U.S. and Canada and flown internationally from the Houston airport. 15,000,000 chicks per year are shipped from the Sallisaw hatchery.

KXMX News Staff

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