Sanderson Farms has opened a $155 million, 180,000-square-foot chicken processing plant and an associated wastewater treatment facility. The plant prepares fresh chicken meat for 40-pound vacuum packs distributed to the food service industry, unlike Sanderson’s plant in Kinston, which packages chicken for retail. Both plants are supplied by a feed mill in Kinston and a hatchery in Lumberton. Five hundred employees were selected to work at the new plant from over 4,000 applicants; and they trained for a month before the grand opening. The operation runs three shifts: two for processing and one for sanitation. The plant is currently packaging 20,000 chickens a day; but at capacity, 1,1000 workers will handle 12.5 times that volume. St. Pauls was selected for the Mississippi-based chicken company’s eleventh fully-integrated processing facility after citizens of Cumberland County protested its proposed construction there. The new plant was opened to reach more markets in the Eastern Seaboard states.