Tyson Foods on Monday announced plans for a new poultry processing plant in Tennessee, but officials say the food giant is still eyeing Kansas, too.
“We have been fully aware they were considering multiple locations and planning to build more than one new complex,” Kansas agriculture secretary Jackie McClaskey told The Star on Monday. “We anticipate positive news in 2018 as we continue to work with multiple Kansas communities and Tyson.”
Plans for a plant in Leavenworth County were put on hold in late September when Tyson faced stiff opposition from the public in Tonganoxie, Lawrence and other surrounding communities.
State officials believed the plant would have been a boon for the agriculture industry within at least a 50-mile radius; opponents worried about pollution and an influx of labor that would strain area infrastructure and schools. A proxy for Tyson has since canceled contracts to purchase large swaths of land south of Tonganoxie.
Tyson previously had stopped short of saying the Leavenworth County site was off the table, but representative Worth Sparkman confirmed on Monday it was no longer being considered.
“Tonganoxie and Leavenworth County are out of the running, so to speak,” he said. “We’ve decided to focus our due diligence on communities that have expressed interest in support of our investment.”