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LEBANON, KY-A joint venture between Keystone Foods, based in Pennsylvania, and Lopez Foods, based in Oklahoma, has formed a company to supply processed chicken to restaurants and food stores, and is building a $43 million new plant here. Rancho Poultry LLC will be in a 100,000-sf facility on 25 acres.

The new processing plant, which will have two lines that will season and cook up to 60 million pounds of chicken annually, will reportedly be shipped the birds from slaughter facilities in Albany. The plant will be a main supplier to McDonald’s.

A company spokesman tells GlobeSt.com that incentives offered by the state and regional economic development organizations played a strong role in locating the venture’s first plant here. The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority granted tax benefits to the company up to $7.5 million under the Kentucky Rural Economic Development Act. “The addition of Rancho Poultry to Marion County’s corporate landscape will provide a tremendous boost to the local economy,” said state economic development cabinet secretary John Hindman in a statement.

The plant will be complete by January 2010. A third product line is also being considered, and the site may ultimately employ about 300 people. “We researched the labor pool and found that people here are very well trained and qualified for our needs,” the Rancho spokesman says.

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