Sedgwick Co. Commissioner sends invite to Tyson for food plant


SEDGWICK CO, Kan. (KSNW) – Tyson Foods could be looking for a new site to build its $320 million chicken processing plant.

It seems all signs point to a less than perfect situation for Tyson to build in Tonganoxie after some in the community worried about smells, the environment, and school district sizes.

Tyson’s President of Poultry Operations Doug Ramsay wrote a letter to the Leavenworth County Commission saying the company is still interested but are on the lookout for other possible suitors.

“Their loss is our gain,” said Michael O’Donnell.

In a tweet directly to Tyson Food companies, Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O’Donnell effectively threw Sedgwick County’s hat in the ring.

“Sedgwick County, we want to be on the map we want to be on the radar. We would like Tyson to at least look at us as an opportunity,” said O’Donnell.

Along with a state-of-the-art facility, Tyson would bring more than 1,400 jobs to whichever community it settled in and is projected to have an economic benefit of more than $150 million to Kansas.

O’Donnell sees it as a chance to add jobs and diversify what kind of jobs are offered in southcentral Kansas.

“There are going to be farms they are going to be working with,” explained O’Donnell. “There are going to be indirect jobs. This could be transformational and a real game changer for our region.”

He said they have spoken with some members of the Wichita City Council and the Greater Wichita Partnership about the possibility.

“We, I think have a workforce that is definitely more ready, willing and able and then we also have higher unemployment than they do,”

Mayor Jeff Longwell wouldn’t speak on it specifically but did say, “We are always open to welcome new companies to the region.”

The big question now is will Tyson build in Kansas?

If this plant comes to Kansas, it won’t be the first Tyson Foods facility in the state.

The smallest Tyson plant is their facility in south Hutchinson where they employ 145 people.

Compare that to their largest facility which is in Finney County where 3,200 people work.

In all, Tyson Foods has more than 4,900 jobs in the state.

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