Gold'n Plump starts final expansion phase

by Bryan Salvage
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SAINT CLOUD, MINN. – The completion phase of a multi-year expansion by Gold’n Plump Poultry was commemorated with an April 23 groundbreaking in Arcadia, Wis. The final phase is part of a project that began in 2006 with the construction of a state-of-the-art hatchery in Independence, Wis.

Bought in 1993 from Arcadia Fryers to improve cost structure and better compete in its core markets, the company’s Arcadia production facility will expand by 22,000 square feet and 15% production capacity. In addition to plant construction and working with Wisconsin-based Market & Johnson to complete it, the expansion is also expected to infuse continued capital into the local economy with additional yearly corn purchases of one-half million bushels from area grain farmers; barn construction; and the addition of more than 20 new family farm partners.

Gold’n Plump has already invested an estimated $25 million, with this phase costing about $13 million. In adding local grower financing for new barns, it’s expected the overall project has brought about $53 million to the local economy.

“We’re excited to share the benefits of the expansion and growth with our team members and community—especially when times have been trying for a lot of people,” stated Michael Helgeson, chief executive officer and third-generation in the family owned business. “By strengthening the company, it means better business for everyone. It’s a positive story, and we’re pleased to complete this phase of our expansion.”

The expansion will increase efficiencies at the plant, eliminating the need to add positions and resulting in some reassignments, said Bill Petz, director of Arcadia Operations for Gold’n Plump,. “Continuous improvement initiatives like these have helped us stay competitive over the years, especially when competing with other U.S. chicken companies in a tough industry,” he added.

Gold’n Plump anticipates the expansion’s infrastructure phase to be completed in late 2010 with broiler barn construction continuing into the fall of 2011.

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