ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. – Hundreds of residents protested during a rally on Nov. 14 to oppose plans by Sanderson Farms to build a chicken processing plant in Southern Nash County, according to the Rocky Mount Telegram

In a four-to-three vote taken on Nov. 1, the Nash County Board of Commissioners rezoned 150 acres at the southeast quadrant of N.C. 97 and Interstate 95 to allow general industrial development. However, more than 200 residents voiced their opposition to the rezoning during the hearing.

Despite protests, county officials are for building a new Sanderson Farms plant, and the site is a new plant finalist, according to Sanderson Farms.

Even though a final decision has yet to be made, the battle lines are being drawn. Residents who are fighting the proposed plant claim they total more than 800 and they are soliciting money for a legal battle. Among the concerns by protesters were fears of ruining a local watershed and drinking water. The city of Wilson is also apparently concerned about these points and has amassed $1 million to try and prevent the new plant.

County-official proponents, however, claim a new poultry processing plant will bring 1,100 jobs to the area and further claim there is a serious misperception about the plant, which they said would be high-tech, well-regulated. Proponents also claim the plant and the spray field proposed to be located six miles west of the plant site would not pose any environmental risks.