LUMBER BRIDGE - Mountaire Farms is expanding its poultry-processing plant in Robeson County, investing $5 million and adding 90 production jobs, the company announced Wednesday.
The new jobs will add about $2million annually to the local economy, said Mike Tirrell, Mountaire's vice president of human resources and business services.
The new investment qualifies the company for a four-year tax-forgiveness incentive grant approved by the Robeson County Board of Commissioners, according to Greg Cummings, the county's economic development director.
The company initially said it planned to add 77 jobs, Cummings said.
"He went from 77 to 90 on me," Cummings said. "But, hey, we'll take it."
Tirrell said the expansion will allow Mountaire to offer more frozen and boneless products to export nationally and worldwide.
The announcement comes two years after Mountaire opened a freezer and warehouse next to the plant. That 97,000-square-foot expansion made it possible for Mountaire to freeze and package chicken on the site instead of sending it elsewhere.
This is the company's fourth major expansion since purchasing the Lumber Bridge plant in 1996, Cummings said.
"We are happy to be in North Carolina, and happy to be in Robeson County," Tirrell said. "We fit in well."
Mountaire, a privately owned company based in Millsboro, Del., already employs about 2,500 people in Lumber Bridge and an estimated 6,500 at facilities in Delaware, Maryland and North Carolina.