HOPE, Ark. – Tyson Foods plans to add new equipment and jobs as part of a major improvement project at its Hope, Ark. poultry plant. To help increase operational efficiencies, the company will invest $13 million to install new product chilling and processing equipment at the plant plus add 250 production jobs.

The Hope complex has also made a slight increase in the size specifications for chickens raised by contract poultry farmers. This change will require developing more chicken houses. The complex has been part of Tyson Foods since 1998. It produces a variety of chicken products, including cooked items, for foodservice customers.

“This initiative reflects our determination to make sure our complex continues to raise and process the highest quality chicken in the most efficient way possible,” said Randy King, manager of Tyson’s Hope Poultry Complex. “We’re also pleased our reinvestment will bring new employment, an increased payroll and additional grower opportunities in the community.”

The additional jobs and chicken houses will help increase the annual payroll for Tyson’s Hope complex to $27 million and total grower pay to $21 million, company officials estimate. The new jobs will boost Tyson’s overall employment in the Hope area to more than 1,100 people.

In mid-December, Tyson will begin hiring to fill the new positions created by the project. Applications will be taken through the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services.

Company officials pointed out the operational improvements will not increase the Hope plant's overall production levels; but they will result in changes in the way it processes boneless chicken for its foodservice customers. In the meantime, the plant plans to temporarily suspend operations for almost two weeks in late December and early January while equipment is being installed.