SHELBYVILLE, TENN. – Tyson Foods said work will begin soon on improvements designed to streamline operations and add jobs at its Shelbyville, Tenn., poultry plant, in a news release sent to It plans to spend almost $5 million to upgrade the layout of some of the plant’s chicken processing, packaging and labeling lines. The project also includes installing some new processing equipment, which will create the need for 40 additional production jobs.

“We believe these improvements will make our operations more efficient and add flexibility to our production process,” said Wally Taylor, manager of Tyson’s Shelbyville poultry complex. “This project, along with the $5.6 million upgrade of our wastewater treatment plant last fall, is consistent with our desire to reinvest in our business to ensure it continues operating successfully.

“We’re also pleased to add jobs, especially at a time when many businesses have put a hold on hiring or have reduced staffing,” Mr. Taylor added. “One of the reasons we have confidence in this re-investment is the continued support and cooperation we receive from the leaders of Shelbyville and Bedford County.”

Equipment installation is scheduled to begin this weekend and the overall project is expected to be completed by mid-May. The plant has already started hiring for the new positions and continues to take applications through the Tennessee Career Center.

The Shelbyville poultry complex, which includes the processing plant, as well as a hatchery and feed mill, employs more than 1,400 people and generates an annual payroll of more than $39 million. In addition, payments to contract growers in Bedford and surrounding counties exceed $24 million annually. The plant produces fresh, tray-packed chicken that is sold to consumers through grocery stores and other retail outlets. The products include de-boned and bone-in chicken, as well as whole birds and marinated specialty products.