Impact of poultry plant will ripple throughout Sussex


This letter to the editor appeared in the Sunday, Dec. 29 edition of the Delaware State News

For too many years now, the job market and the overall economy in the Millsboro area and Sussex County at large have been stuck in a rut, held back by factors largely outside the control of anyone who lives or works here.

But now, we have the chance to support something in our community that will provide jobs for hundreds of families and touch off a ripple of economic activity that will positively impact hundreds more.

A new poultry processing facility like the one Allen Harim Foods wants to establish at the former Pinnacle Foods plant off Iron Branch Road means more to our area than just 700 new well-paying jobs — which is more than we had when the old pickle factory was up and running.

A large-scale facility like this is would have an impact on the local economy far beyond its own fences. The $100 million investment Allen Harim wants to make in our community will mean more work for the family-owned and -operated businesses that have served Sussex County for generations. That’s more work for businesses such as Mumford Sheet Metal Works in Selbyville and Marvel’s Portable Welding in Frankford, who’ve been fabricating and fixing poultry industry equipment for years.

Trucks in and out of the plant mean more calls for the heavy tow trucks like those at Bunting’s Garage in Dagsboro.

More processing workers, supervisors, technicians and managers mean more lunchtime diners at restaurants like the Georgia House, Blue Water Grill and Pint and Pub Eatery.

And we can’t forget where Allen Harim gets its chickens. A new processing facility means more demand for growers, who will need to buy more feed and supplies from local vendors, have new chicken houses built by local tradesmen, and insured by local brokers. More chickens means more demand for vaccines and veterinary products like those made at the Intervet/Merck plant in Millsboro. It goes on and on.

We know there are issues at the former Pinnacle site, and they are being addressed by the professionals whose job it is to make sure our water and air are clean and safe. Across the state, DNREC has dealt with hundreds of contaminated industrial sites over the years, many of which were much larger and much more complicated than the Pinnacle plant.

Allen Harim knows going in what its responsibilities are in terms of clean-up and monitoring, and the company has put up a significant sum of money to take care of those obligations going forward. Without that investment, the Pinnacle plant and its pollutants will just continue to sit on the site unchecked.

The jobs and the wide-ranging economic impact of the Allen Harim facility are exactly the kind of boost Millsboro and Sussex County need right now. Let’s make sure we don’t miss the chance to support something that will help us forge our own economic destiny going forward.



John Atkins
State Representative, 41st District