LAUREL, Miss. – Sanderson Farms, Inc. will build its new poultry complex in St. Pauls, Robeson County, NC.

The company said the poultry processing plant and waste water treatment facilities will comprise a state-of-the-art poultry complex with a processing capacity of 1.25 million birds per week for the big bird deboning market. The company also has sites under consideration for a new hatchery.

“We are grateful for the cooperation from the economic development and governmental officials in St. Pauls, Robeson County and the state of North Carolina,” said Joe F. Sanderson, chairman and CEO. “We believe this expansion will enhance our ability to drive revenues and earnings and allow us to continue our record of building long-term value for our shareholders. The additional capacity of 1.25 million birds per week represented by the new complex will provide new marketing opportunities for the Company in the fresh food service market. We are pleased that our recent financial performance has put us in a position to continue to grow our company.”

The company expects to invest approximately $139 million in the new North Carolina complex. The project also includes upgrades to Sanderson's Kinston, NC, feed mill. The company anticipates that associated contract growers will invest an additional $168 million in poultry production facilities.

Sanderson expects to begin construction of the facilities this summer, with initial operations of the new complex to begin during the fourth fiscal quarter of 2016. At full capacity, the complex will employ approximately 1,100 people and will require 100 contract growers. The company expects the plant to process 500 million lbs. of dressed poultry meat annually at full production.