Sedgwick County commissioners want Tyson food plant

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) "It's not every day you have one of the nation's largest employers, biggest company look at Sedgwick County."

In a tweet Wednesday night, Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O'Donnell invited Tyson Foods to choose Sedgwick County for the location of a chicken processing plant.

O'Donnell's pitch comes after county officials in Leavenworth told the food company to hold off building the plant in Tonganoxie.


The community there revolted following Tyson's announcement because of worries of smells, the environment, and school district sizes.

Tyson’s President of Poultry Operations, Doug Ramsay wrote a letter to the Leavenworth County Commission saying the company is still interested but are on the lookout for other possible suitors.

“Their loss is our gain,” said Michael O’Donnell.

Other county commissioners agree. Eyewitness News spoke to Dave Unruh who sees the possibility for economic growth.

"It's really important and significant," said Unruh. "I think we need to get our act together whether we want to pursue this quickly."

If the poultry giant did decide to consider Sedgwick County, the community could see a more than $300 million investment from Tyson and an increase of 1,600 hundred jobs.

"It's providing more opportunities for people," said O'Donnell. "They're full-time jobs that come with healthcare and other benefits."

But what about the smell?

Unruh says he has been advised that other Tyson poultry plants do not emit an offensive odor. He says, scientifically, there is nothing wrong with bringing a Tyson plant here.

"I've been advised is totally clean, environmentally friendly, and no objections to it," said Unruh.

Because the county is in preliminary discussions, no definitive plans have been made. O'Donnell says it would be up to Tyson to decide where they would build.

Unruh says Sedgwick County might also face some competition from western Kansas counties, but believes Sedgwick County has more to offer.

"I think that there would be some competition among other counties," said Unruh. "However, I think this area has a lot of possibilities and a lot of assets that the smaller communities don't have. "

How do would you feel about the Tyson plant coming to Sedgwick County? Here's some results from Katie Johnston's Twitter poll: