WILKESBORO, N.C. — Tyson Foods’ Wilkesboro poultry facility is involved in several improvement projects designed to improve the efficiency of the plant’s fresh poultry operations, which are involved in the production of tray-packaged fresh chicken for retail customers. The total cost of these projects is more than $20 million, according to a statement from Wilkesboro Complex Manager Bob Johnson that was e-mailed to MEATPOULTRY.com.

“We recently transitioned to a new chicken deboning system, which we believe will give us more versatility in making changes to our product mix,” Johnson said. “The change involved the installation of new production equipment, the addition of jobs and the construction of an addition. We will modify our bird cut-up area in late November with equipment that will streamline the production process and actually reduce some of our labor needs.”

Combined, the two projects will result in a new increase of 165 production jobs. “This means Tyson’s total employment at Wilkes County will be more than 2,500 people,” Johnson said. “Most of the deboning positions have already been filled; however, we continue to take job applications,” he added.

“We’re excited about these projects and what they mean for the future of our Wilkesboro operations. We’re also pleased they will result in a net increase in the number of jobs we provide in the community. The projects will not increase the total volume of product produced at the plant,” Johnson concluded.