Work begins on Farwell egg plant

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

Construction crews are digging the foundation in Farwell for what will be one of the biggest egg-processing plants in the Southwest.

Mississippi-based Cal-Maine foods started the initial work on the plant about three weeks ago after receiving building permits last month, said company Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Tim Dawson.

The company produces eggs for Egg-Land’s Best and Farmhouse, according to its Web site.

Parmer County commissioners approved a five-year tax abatement early in the year for the company to build its $25 million to $30 million plant northeast of Farwell, according to Parmer County Commissioner Michael Haseloff.

“I think it’ll be great because it’ll help our tax rate and (create) jobs,” he said.

He said the plant will create more than 50 jobs.

“We will start operating the plant some time next year and by the end of 2009 we should have everything completed,” Dawson said.

The plant will consist of nine laying houses that will contain about 1.5 million laying hens and produce more than 1 million eggs a day, he said. Dawson said a pullet house where chicks are grown into laying hens is the first on the list for construction.

“When the chicks mature they’ll go into the laying houses,” he said. “And so we’ll be going through a series of building those.”

Haseloff said the company is replacing its egg processing plant in Albuquerque and expressed interest in building a plant in Farwell two years ago.

Dawson said Farwell is located between two of its major distribution areas in the Southwestern United States.

“Albuquerque is one of our biggest markets and (so is) Lubbock,” Dawson said.