TOPEKA, Kan. – After the controversy over the Tonganoxie poultry plant last September, Kansas legislators are trying to introduce a bill where a countywide public vote will be held for any large-scale poultry processing facility.
Jim Karleskint of Tonganoxie and Sen. Tom Holland of Baldwin City, Kansas, announced the new proposal for the law at a press conference on Feb. 1.
In September 2017, Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson Foods announced plans to build the plant on 300 acres near the city in northeast Kansas near Tonganoxie.
The project was to include a hatchery, feed mill, processing plant and supporting infrastructure. Production capacity at the facility was estimated at 1.25 million chickens per week when the plant became fully operational. It would have provided 1,600 jobs and require 300 to 400 chicken-raising houses on farms and ranches in a 50-mile radius.
Hundreds of people and many advocacy groups protested the announcement with “No Tyson in Tongie” signs spread throughout Leavenworth County. By October 2017, Tyson removed Tonganoxie as one of its proposed locations for the poultry plant.
Tyson then announced plans to put the project on hold while considering other locations after county commissioners in Leavenworth County, Kansas, voted to rescind a resolution of intent to approve revenue bonds totaling $500 million to support the construction of the complex.
By November 2017, Tyson Foods announced plans to build a new chicken production complex inHumboldt, part of Gibson County in western Tennessee. The complex included a processing plant, hatchery, feed mill and related operations. The project appeared to be the same size and scope as the complex in Tonganoxie.