New meat processing plant to create hundreds of jobs in southern Illinois

A new meat processing plant inspired by the pandemic's supply chain issues is set to open in the Heartland
Published: Nov. 2, 2022 at 11:22 AM CDT|Updated: Nov. 2, 2022 at 5:48 PM CDT
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WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Ill. (KFVS) - A cattle breeding company plans to build a new meat processing plant in southern Illinois.

Saline River Farms, LLC announced details on a new USDA beef and pork processing facility north of Creal Springs in Williamson County.

A public news conference was held at Veterans Memorial Airport of Southern Illinois on Wednesday afternoon, November 2.

A cattle breeding company plans to build a new meat processing plant in southern Illinois.

The company said the new plant will create more than 400 new jobs and is projected to process 40 million pounds of beef and 19 million pounds of pork every year.

“This was a real problem, we were a few days short of a real catastrophe in terms of shortages of product that would be in grocery stores and restaurants,” said Brent Clark, Saline River Farms partner.

When there is a problem, you find a solution.

Clark said supply chain issues associated with the pandemic spawned the idea of building the meat processing facility.

“Consumers, this affects grocers, tourism, school districts, producers of cattle and pork, producers of fertilizer, feed supplies, equipment people and so forth,” he explained.

The group also received a more than $6 million grant from the USDA.

Jeff Diederich, a partner with Saline River Farms, said cattle from all across the Midwest will be sent here.

“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,” he said.

The partners say the water infrastructure will come from the municipality of Creal Springs and an aquifer. And the sewage system will a project in combination with the city of Creal Springs and the Delta Regional Authority.

As for jobs, Clark said they will look local before anywhere else.

“Looking right here first, we’re going to work with the community college system, we’re going to work with Man-Tra-Con and other job workforce department agencies to hire people right here, we have plenty of work force right here in our backyard,” he said.

They would not say how much these jobs are paying, only that they want to be at or above the industry standard.

Leaders with Saline River Farms say they will break ground on the facility in the spring. It’ll then take 15-18 months to get up and running.