Chamber Public Information Session Video
VIDEOS AND OTHER MULTIMEDIA
Here you will find links to media coverage and news videos from around the community, both for and against the project.Poultry plan proposal near Fayetteville sparks debate - From WNCN.com
Residents' Feathers Ruffled Over Proposed Poultry Plant - From Time Warner News 14
Fight over chicken processing plant in Fayetteville - ABC 11 Coverage 9/2/14
Cumberland Co. residents uneasy about proposed chicken plant - WNCN Coverage 9/2/14
Knowledge is the Antidote for Fear - Up & Coming Weekly Column
'Knowledge is the antidote for fear.'
Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best. Nobody wants bad to come upon them, and it's easily understood that we would be afraid of the things that would cause that. But far too often we get caught up in the fears and we forget about a far more important factor in our health and well being: knowledge.
There has been a lot said in recent weeks about a proposed chicken processing plant being built on the site of the vacant Cedar Creek Business Center. While everyone involved certainly has the best intentions, unfortunately, not everything being said is based on knowledge, but based more on fear.
It's understandable. It really is. The premise of Sanderson Farms bringing a processing plant to our All America City can, on its surface, be a little scary. We get visions in our head of how a processing plant looks, and how it smells.
It's ok to be afraid. That can help us seek out answers to important questions that impact the quality of life of each and every one of us in this community. But if our fears cripple us to the point that we won't even bother listening to the answers being given - because they don't fit the script we try to write in advance - we are doomed to failure.
The goal of everyone involved in the Sanderson Farms project is not to mislead or misinform anyone. The fact is, at this stage in the process it's premature to enter into many of the discussions about this or any opportunity. The company, and the leadership of this community - those elected and appointed to look after the long-term interests of the community we all call home - are working hard to gather all the relevant facts that will ultimately be the determining factor in any decision making.
There are answers to many of the questions that have been posed, however, and those answers are being given to our community leaders and even those most outspoken against the project. We're happy to provide anyone who requests it with the information packets they have all been provided. But at this point in this project, most of what is being said publicly is just conjecture, as Sanderson Farms has not yet committed to the project, nor made any requests for approval to elected officials.
We want to move past conjecture, so let's take a look at some of those key facts and figures.
At this point, we know Sanderson Farms has expressed interest in locating a facility in the vacant, and appropriately zoned, Ceder Creek Business Park.
If everything were accepted and approved, Sanderson Farms would likely build a facility here similar to the one it has in Kinston, NC. That's roughly 170,000 square feet of precast construction on about 200 acres. The property would be capable of processing some 1.25 million chickens per week. The site would also have a live haul shed, a wastewater treatment facility, a truck shop, and parking area. Additionally there would be an administration and hatchery building of about 65,000 square feet.
All of that amounts to over 1,000 jobs and some $113 million in investment. In Kinston, the average hourly wage is $11.71 an hour, plus the company pays 75 percent of an employee's benefits for themselves and their family. That averages out at about $2.50 an hour more.There are also over 100 employees making over $50,000 a year.
Those are the basics of the facility, which would provide much-needed jobs and investment in our area.
While it's early, we would like to address some of the bigger objections we've heard so far with the facts we have available. Again, many of these questions are answered on our fact sheets.
First and foremost to everyone is the smell. It's important to note that this isn't the processing plant you immediately envision. This is a state-of-the-art facility designed with with the health and safety of everyone, including its neighbors, in mind. Public officials and journalists from the area have visited the facility in Kinston, and all of them came back with the same impression - there is no discernable foul odor. The air and grounds around the Kinston facility are clean and free of feathers as well.
Water pollution seems to be the next biggest objection. It's important that everyone understands that in no way, shape or form does Sanderson Farms just dump wastewater into the neighboring waterways. That's not how the process works. The process actually sends the wastewater through its own $12 million water treatment facility, which uses no chemicals in its process. It's actually very similar to how most municipal water treatment facilities work. The water is clear and odorless upon completion of treatment.
After the water is treated it is used to spray hay fields adjacent to the facility. The water is rich in nutrients and serves just as a fertilizer would on any farm. The locations for the hay fields are purposefully chosen to provide the best possible natural ground filtration process. The amount of water that can be sprayed each day is state regulated. After it is sprayed, the purposefully chosen ground naturally filters the treated water and ultimately it returns to the aquifer.
It's important to note that the entire process is heavily regulated and no water is directly discharged into the river. Sanderson Farms has scientific studies that show the water tables in and around thier facilities are actually better now than they were before they were there. The company has also met and in most cases exceeded all regulations at its facility in Kinston. Government regulations are in place for a reason, and while it's easy to be dismissive of those regulations as laughable, the fact is that they work. And they have for a long, long time.
Another big issue being raised is about the amount of pay for the workers at the facility. It's become popular to say that the wages aren't high enough and that we are better than these jobs; that we should aim higher in our goal to improve our economic climate here. That's an easy claim to make when we're trying to find a high moral ground. But the fact is that we have a large population here that would welcome the opportunity to work hard and make a living, and they need jobs. In an environment where the unemployment rate is so high, it's hard to believe that we'd be willing to turn away the chance at over 1,000 jobs based on turned up noses. Jobs that have the potential to put a large chunk of our population back to work.
Did you know that some 40,000 Cumberland County households make less than $25,000 a year? And that 25,000 make less than $15,000 a year? Yes, we would love to have higher skilled and higher paying industries in our area. But the reality is we NEED both. We have a diverse workforce here, and it does us no good to turn away from those who need jobs most right now.
We are in an almost unprecedented economic climate here. There are very few opportunities to provide large numbers of jobs at once to a community. An opportunity to do that here, with a Fortune 500 company that has an excellent reputation for safety, community involvement and support, and environmental safeguards is something we should embrace with open arms.
We want our community asking the important questions that will ultimately impact all of us. But we want people to be willing to hear the answers with an open mind. We are in the extremely early phases of this process.
We have great confidence in our elected officials, and respect the work they have done to understand this immensely complex issue. They truly have the best interests of our community as a whole in mind as they explore the facts.
It's important that we not let fear be the catalyst to decision making here. We have an opportunity to seek out facts in a productive public environment. As the process continues to develop, we hope that everyone with a vested interest will have their questions answered and that all minds will be open to the best interests of our community as a whole.
If you would like fact sheets about the project to review, please contact our communications department at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 910-433-6766.
Sanderson Farms Visit Photos
On Sept. 2, the Fayetteville Regional Chamber held an Information Session where the public was allowed to submit questions for answering on the project and the science behind it. Several questions were answered at the Info Session (see video here, or at top of this page). Not everything was able to be answered at that session, so we have created a space to answer all of the questions. As those answers come in we will post them to this blog, and on the Sanderson Farms FAQ Facebook page.
11. We understand that Sanderson secured approval from Lenoir County for their Kinston facility without even submitting information about the irrigation system...By Brandon Plotnick
September 16, 2014 at 01:48pm
11. We understand that Sanderson secured approval from Lenoir County for their Kinston facility without even submitting information about the irrigation system -- they ONLY gave Kinston info on the wastewater treatment plant. Is this true? If so how Fayetteville officials be sure they aren’t hiding the ball now?
Answer: This question is vague because it is not clear what is meant by the term “information.” If the question is referring to the irrigation system from a permitting standpoint, the local government bodies do not regulate that aspect of Sanderson Farms’ operation so all applications, information and reporting would be directly to the government body charged with overseeing that operation.1. Are there already too many nutrients in the Cape Fear River? How can the safety of the river be guaranteed?By Brandon Plotnick
September 16, 2014 at 01:44pm
1. Are there already too many nutrients in the Cape Fear River? How can the safety of the river be guaranteed?
Answer: Water is one of our most precious resources that needs to be protected and is protected through government regulations – this includes the Cape Fear River. The truth is that every house, commercial building, industrial building, farm, school, vehicle, pipeline, waste water treatment plant, septic system etc. has an impact on the waterways of North Carolina. The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources is the primary regulatory entity that has the responsibility to ensure that growth in our state is creating as little negative impact on the waterways as possible.
As far as the impact specifically from the proposed Sanderson Farms Project is concerned, DENR has regulations on the plant, waste water treatment, spray fields and the farms.