CREAL SPRINGS, ILL. — Saline River Farms broke ground on a 60,000-square-foot meat processing facility on Aug. 25 in Creal Springs, Ill. The plant will operate under federal inspection and have the capacity to process up to 1,600 head of cattle per day, bringing 400 new jobs to Williamson County.

The $80 million project was supported by the Economic Development for a Growing Economy Tax Credit (EDGE) program and a $1.5 million grant through the Meat & Poultry Supply Chain Capital Grant Program, along with a $6 million grant from the US Department of Agriculture.

The Meat & Poultry Grant program is designed to support independent processors and bolster the supply chain. Saline River Farms is receiving additional capital through the program, and the company will invest a total of $34.5 million to repair and expand its existing processing facility.

Attending the groundbreaking were Saline River Farms personnel, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, and local leaders and partners.

“This facility will soon become a state-of-the-art, 60,000 square-foot USDA meat processing plant — simultaneously improving our nation’s food supply by producing hundreds of thousands of pounds of beef a day while creating good-paying full-time jobs,” Pritzker said. “More food getting to consumers' grocery aisles and more jobs for hard-working Southern and Central Illinoisans is a win-win. This groundbreaking brings Creal Springs and its surrounding communities an opportunity to rebuild and revitalize, and I’m grateful to USDA and Williamson County for working together to make today possible.”