State-of-the-art meat processing facility coming to Williamson County

 

MARION, Ill. (KBSI) – An idea 2 ½ years in the making is now a reality. 

The US Department of Agriculture’s grant of more than $6.8 million will allow Saline River Farms to bring a state-of-the-art meat processing plant to Williamson County, Ill.  

Co-owner Jeff Diederich says this plant takes production to a whole different level. 

“This is a sizable operation,” he said. “There are a lot of local processors that are valued in our community and southern Illinois and around the country, but this takes it to a level of high-level production with a lot of automation and efficiency and produces the volume of product that we need to sustain our food supply.” 

This plant is expected to create more than 400 jobs for southern Illinois. Estimates also indicate that it will process 40 million pounds of beef and 19 million pounds of pork annually. 

The 83,000 square-foot facility will be located on Highway 166 north of Creal Springs. 

Both Diederich and co-owner Brent Clark said the economic impact will be felt throughout the region. 

“When those dollars cycle through that plant and go out to our employees and our vendors, they get spent repetitively in our community,” Diederich said.

“In terms of what this does to our economy in this region, this is substantial,” Clark said. “This is a private employer that is going to bring in excess of privately paid jobs, and they’re going to be long-term, stable pay, livable wages, benefits.” 

Senator Dale Fowler, who was instrumental in getting this project off the ground, extended his congratulations to the people who will see the impact of this facility. 

“I want to say congratulations to all of the communities throughout southern Illinois that are going to benefit from this project, and to the families that are going to be able to prosper from this and have great paying jobs right here in beautiful southern Illinois,” he said.

Ground is expected to be broken on the project in Spring 2023 and should take between 15 and 18 months to complete.

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