WILLIAMSON COUNTY, ILL. — As part of the US Department of Agriculture’s $223 million investment in meat and poultry processing capacity, Saline River Farms LLC and USDA officials announced on Nov. 2 the company’s intent to build an 83,000-square-foot plant in Southern Illinois.

The agency awarded a nearly $6.9 million grant to be used for the development of this project.

Representatives from Saline River stated the development of this facility would create more than 400 jobs on two shifts five days a week when fully operational. The company also estimated the plant would process 40 million lbs of beef and 19 million lbs of pork annually using the latest technology and automation.

Jeff Diederich, a partner with Saline River Farms, addressed the new project during a recent press conference.

He explained the project would help people locally and provide money and resources from neighboring states.

“There are producers from a large number of states, scattered around the Midwest, that will be transporting beef and pork product to us to be processed,” Diederich said. “That product will be processed here so this is an opportunity to bring dollars from outside Illinois, back to Illinois, put people to work and then ship that product back out.”

Saline River stated that it will have a groundbreaking in spring 2023 with a 15–18-month timetable for the plant to be operational.

Saline River plans to build the facility at the site of the former Four Star Arena.

At the press conference, Brent Clark, another partner for Saline River Farms, said that the group had contacted producers in seven states to set up markets for the plant.