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franklin county times
FILE PHOTO Rail access will be a crucial component of operations at Mar-Jac Poultry in Spruce Pine., and now a $300K CDBG will ensure accessibility to the feed mill facility for trucks crossing the tracks, with the funding providing improvements at the railroad crossing.

Mar-Jac gets $300K CDBG funding

Construction has continued in Spruce Pine on Mar-Jac Poultry’s feed mill and nearby hatchery, and now a much-anticipated Community Development Block Grant will ensure progress continues.

Gov. Kay Ivey announced last week a $300,000 grant to provide infrastructure to assist Mar-Jac Poultry in building the $35 million feed mill to supply the growing poultry industry in northwest Alabama. CDBG funds will help provide improvements at a railroad crossing at the main road leading to the plant and will include installing safety signals. An estimated 80-100 trucks, many from local farms delivering grain to the plant, will use the road. The improvements at this railroad crossing, project manager Keith Martin explained, are crucial to beginning operations at the mill.

“We are excited and pleased to have received this grant. It could not have been possible without the help and support from Franklin County and NACLOG,” Martin said. “We are looking forward to beginning operations in Spruce Pine. Thank you to all who have worked hard to make our growth possible.”

Probate Judge Barry Moore announced the grant at the county commission’s July meeting.

“We appreciate the governor and Kenneth Boswell with ADECA awarding this grant,” Moore said. “And we appreciate NACOLG for assisting us in getting this grant.” Moore also thanks Mar-Jac Poultry for the company’s investment in the community.

In late March a crew began pouring concrete to construct “the six-pack,” the storage silos, for the feed mill. This construction marked the final biggest phase of the project. Martin said Mar-Jac hopes to do test runs in October and be fully operational by the end of the year.

Ivey’s office highlighted the job creation the grant will aid – 30 employees at the feed mill and an increased need for poultry growers, not counting the jobs that have provided filled by those undertaking the construction, ongoing for more than a year.

“Agriculture feeds America, and that is especially true in rural Alabama, where the poultry industry is a major employer,” Ivey said. “This project will put food on the tables for numerous families in Franklin County and northwest Alabama and will have a large economic impact on the area well beyond the 30 people employed at the mill.”

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grant from funds made available by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

FCDA interim director Sherye Price said the capital investment from Mar Jac has reached the $60 million dollar range in Franklin County, representing a significant benefit to the local economy.

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