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Smith County to Receive Grant for Water Infrastructure Improvements for Sanderson Farms

Casey Murphy - Smith County

January 31, 2019

Smith County was notified by Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller on Friday, January 25, that it received an $850,000 grant that will fund water system improvements needed for Sanderson Farms’ poultry processing plant.

“This is an affirmation at the state level of the widespread positive economic impact that this new poultry processing plant will have on Smith County and the East Texas region,” Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran said. “We congratulate Sanderson Farms on their success so far, and we stand ready to assist other economic development projects like this in the future for businesses looking to come to Smith County.”

The $850,000 awarded by the Texas Department of Agriculture Capital Fund will help pay for a water infrastructure project connecting Sanderson Farms’ processing plant to Sand Flat Water Supply Corporation. Sanderson Farms will need a backup water supply for its processing plant. In order to do that, improvements need to be made to the distribution system and storage pressure maintenance facilities.

“This is great news,” Tyler Economic Development President/CEO Tom Mullins said. “Not only is it a benefit for Sanderson Farms, but it is also a benefit for northeast Smith County and the Sand Flat Water district, which will be able to upgrade and expand its infrastructure. It is a win-win and we are very happy to get that news.”

The Sanderson Farms processing plant is currently served by a single existing private well. The company needs additional potable water supply and water service from a public water system to reliably serve its poultry processing plant. With the grant funding, Sand Flat Water Supply Corp. will develop additional water well capacity at its well field in Farm-to-Market Road 14, and construct a water main connecting the new well capacity to the Sanderson Farms project site.

Sanderson Farms’ processing plant is being constructed on a 572-acre tract at the intersection of Interstate 20 and Farm-to-Market Road 2015. It will have about 210,000 square feet of enclosed floor space, will employ up to 1,490 employees.

In consideration of the grant, Sanderson Farms has committed to create, within 36 months following the start date of the grant contract, 50 full-time jobs at its poultry process plant.

Mullins said when completed, Sanderson Farms is expected to have 1,500 employees at its processing plants, and 1,700 total employees at its plant, offices/hatchery and feed/rail facilities in Smith County and Mineola.

The Sand Flat Water Supply Corp. Board of Directors requested that Smith County Commissioners Court authorize the application for the grant. The Commissioners Court approved it in November. The grant administrator was Traylor & Associates, Inc.

“This grant from the Texas Department of Agriculture is the next step needed to bringing Sanderson Farms and economic development to the northeast portion of Smith County,” Smith County Commissioner Terry Phillips.