Riceland Foods will add 80 new jobs and expand its operations in Stuttgart and Jonesboro, Arkansas, with a $13.2 million investment.
Most of the expansion will be at the Stuttgart location, including two new packaging lines and renovations to upgrade about 10 existing production lines to meet future growth projections
The two new packaging lines will enhance the cooperative’s ability to meet the demands of the ever-changing consumer. The expansion will also support additional renovation of existing facilities and updates to existing production lines.
“Riceland has been a key employer in eastern Arkansas for years,” said Interim President and CEO Andrew Dallas. “We’re excited about the opportunity to grow this segment of our business.”
Riceland has been upgrading production facilities in both Jonesboro and Stuttgart and also purchased new warehouse space in Jonesboro to support distribution operations. Warehouse operations have been upgraded as well to install robotic palletizing and the company has converted to more advanced-technology production to boost efficiency, Dallas said.
Riceland estimates the expansion will take up to 18 months to fully complete and should be in full production by summer 2023,
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Ben Noble said the business strategy has focused on the expansion of value-added packaged business for some time. The company is owned by about 5,500 farmers and growers in Arkansas and Missouri.
“The majority of these jobs will be in Stuttgart and Jonesboro and will provide a much-needed boost to the local economies in those areas of the state," said Noble.
"Ultimately, the true beneficiary will be our farmers due to the increased margins we are able to secure.”