Construction work is expected to last two years and, when it is up and running, Cargill said it hoped the investment would improve animal health, biosecurity and the safety of its staff.
“We are replacing equipment that has served us well for more than 30 years,” said Connie Isenhart, hatchery manager at Cargill’s Harrisonburg site in the US.
“The new technology reduces stress on the hatchlings, due to advancements in environmental control technology, which improves the survivability of day-old turkey poults. Healthy poults convert feed more efficiently and result in the best bird possible for Cargill turkey farmers and consumers.”
Reduce workplace injuries
Cargill hopes to reduce the risk of its employees getting injured – and duly suing the business – by investing in a new incubator and hatcher system. All the controls of the equipment are easily accessible, which means staff no longer need to clamber onto the machinery, which can cause injuries.
“When our new system is operating at capacity, we will be setting more than 112,000 eggs daily to meet the needs of our turkey business,” added Isenhart.
“As always, our goal is to hatch, then place with farmers, high-quality, healthy, turkeys that produce the great protein products our customers and consumers have come to expect from our Honeysuckle White, Shady Brook Farms and Honest Turkey brands. By investing in our business for future growth, we will be better positioned to help deliver on our promises to meet customer and consumer expectations.”
It is unclear if the investment will create new jobs, although Cargill is already a notable employer in the region: across a feed mill, turkey hatchery, dedicated turkey processing facility, cooked meats factory and a distribution centre in the Harrisonburg area, Cargill employs 1,800 staff.