Poultry producer Allen Harim broke ground Oct. 25 on a new hatchery in Dagsboro that will soon produce 2.5 million chicks a week for Delaware chicken farmers.
The 70,000-square-foot hatchery on Nine Foot Road is a $22 million upgrade to an existing facility, and will replace the company's Seaford-based hatchery once it opens in late 2018.
“We're thankful every day for the chicken industry in Sussex County,” said Sen. Gerald Hocker, R-Ocean View. “Where would Sussex County be without the poultry industry? Without the agriculture industry?”
The existing 38,000-square-foot hatchery in Dagsboro was built in 1973 and purchased by Allen Harim in 1988. Company officials said the facility has been used as a back-up hatchery because of its old equipment and infrastructure.
“It has served a good 40 years,” said Rory DeWeese, Allen Harim's senior director of live operations. “The Dagsboro and Seaford facilities are in need of upgrades. When you're growing chicken with no antibiotics and all-vegetarian feed, you have to have everything right.”
The upgrade to the Dagsboro facility will result in the closure of the Seaford hatchery. Employees will be offered other jobs within the company, officials said.
Gov. John Carney said the multimillion-dollar investment supports family farms that raise chicks as broiler chickens used in meat production.
“This is a big deal,” Carney said as he applauded the investment. “This reinvestment in this facility is a way of securing the future of individual family farmers, of securing the poultry industry in our great state of Delaware.”
Allen Harim CEO Joe Moran said the company will be making another big announcement before the end of the year.
“We are committed to Sussex County,” he said. “Stay tuned.”
Allen Harim also operates a poultry-processing plant in Harbeson and a breeding operation in Liberty, N.C. and employs more than 1,700 people in the United States. The company is owned by South Korean-based Harim Group. For more, go to www.allenharimllc.com.