Macon County Chronicle

$14 Million Cobb Facility to Create New Jobs

Cobb and the City of Lafayette in Macon County have agreed and approved the location for a Hatchery and QA facility as part of the company’s new production facility in Tennessee.  Construction is planned to commence in March this year with completion scheduled by late April in 2011.  The facility will generate over 70 new jobs when at full capacity.

Cobb researched rural locations over much of the US before settling on North Central Tennessee as the preferred area for their new production unit consisting of a hatchery and QA facility and a network of new farms in the surrounding countryside. 

Following the identification of Lafayette, Macon County as the best option, contact was made with a receptive Tennessee Economic and Community Development Group (TECD) who introduced Cobb to county and city officials to determine their response to the prospect of poultry breeding company, a hatchery/QA facility and a number of pullet and hen farms being constructed in the surrounding area. 

“Right from the start, communication and coordination with local officials was encouraging,” commented Dave Juenger, Cobb Corporate Services Director.  “Response times, support, identification of mutual goals to create a long term beneficial solution for both the county and Cobb were evident.” 

Early discussion resulted in a tour with city and county officials and state economic development groups to the Cobb production facility at Monticello, Kentucky to enable officials to get a clear indication of the company’s business, how it manages its business and is perceived by the community.  Following a successful tour and approval of the project by the city, discussion focused on possible locations which might satisfy key Cobb business requirements -   isolation from other poultry industry facilities, accessibility of major airports, an agricultural community and available workforce.

A 10 acre site in the city’s industrial park was selected for the $14 million hatchery and QA facility, contingent on site improvements.  Earlier the TECD had identified the availability of state funding which the City of Lafayette moved quickly to apply for and secure support from the Upper Cumberland Development District (UCDD) whose task is, along with the TECD, to recommend funding to support approved fast track development infrastructure projects.  Approval of $500,000 in state funding was announced in January and the partnership between Cobb and the City of Lafayette was born.  Public bids for the site development have been advertized and are scheduled to close on 2nd of February. Groundwork will commence soon after confirmation of the successful contractor, with the facility scheduled for completion by around March 2011.

When asked, J.Y. Carter, Mayor of Lafayette made the following observations, “as far as the City is concerned, we are proud to have a resident like Cobb in the Industrial Park.  It has been a very positive relationship and we look forward to the jobs coming into town.  Once we saw Cobb was interested in us we got interested in Cobb and strived to facilitate their move into the City at every corner we encountered.”

“I am anxious for Cobb to get the hatchery and QA facility built for two reasons,” indicated Shelvy Linville, Mayor of Macon County, “create much needed jobs for Macon County citizens and secondly put to rest the negative speculation surrounding this project by showing people what Cobb and the business is really about.  Cobb is going to be good for our retailers and add to the economic activity of the county.”

Cobb has opened an office and moved the new Complex Manager, Randy Yates to the region and appointed Hatchery Manager, Keith Harper from the local area to take responsibility for building and managing the complex, which will create around 70 jobs when at full capacity and new construction work and for local contractors and retailers.

“I moved the family here about a year ago and have the responsibility to oversee construction and the management of the hatchery facility and get 27 new, two-house farms built by local farmers over the next 3 years.  This project represents a long term commitment to the region and we look forward to being fully operational in the future.  Our dealings with local people and businesses has been good as we go about setting up as many local vendors as possible to support the on-going needs of the business,” commented Randy Yates on his initial experience and progress in the area.