The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

February 6, 2013

County dispels Sanderson Farms rumors

The Daily Southerner
Calvin Adkins

ROCKY MOUNT — The Edgecombe County Commissioners quashed the rumor Monday night during its regularly scheduled meeting that Sanderson Farms Inc. is looking to build a chicken processing facility on Kingsboro Road.

“Edgecombe County has never considered Sanderson Farm Inc. chicken processing plant,” said County Manager Lorenzo Carmon. “One of the reasons is that they planned on using a lot of ground water.

Carmon explained that the water table in Edgecombe County is too low to provide enough water for the plant. He said the county never considered Sanderson Farms locating in the county.  

Rumors began spreading rapidly after the board rezoned several tracts of land at Kingsboro Industrial Site from AR-30 (Agricultural Residential) to M-2 (General Industrial). Three tracts were rezoned last month. The rezoning took place after the Mississippi-based company announced it no longer planned to open a poultry processing plant in Nash County, The announcement, coupled with the rezoning, raised red flags among concerned citizens.

Prominent Edgecombe County businessman Marvin Horton questioned the board about the rezoning at its January meeting. On Monday, the last of four large tracts of land was rezoned by a unanimous vote.

Before the vote, two citizens voiced their concerns about Sanderson Farms locating in the area.

“If we are rezoning for the chicken farm, I’m not for that,” said Wayne Grimmer, who lives in the Kingsboro district.

Commissioner Donald Boswell strongly reiterated that Sanderson will not locate in Edgecombe County.

“Without a doubt, we can’t supply the water needs for Sanderson Farms,” he said. There’s a lot of people who think that is what this rezoning is all about. It is not a possibility.”

Carmon added to Boswell’s comment saying that the county did not want to jeopardize the good standing it has with existing industries located in the area, by allowing an industry that could cause problems to the environment.  

“We have businesses such as QVC out there,” he said. “They have a one million square-foot warehouse. I don’t see this board or any other board jeopardizing these jobs and that million square foot warehouse by allowing (Sanderson) which is not conducive to that area to be located out there.”

Edgecombe County Chairman Leonard Wiggins, has spoken publicly before saying that he was not aware of Sanderson Farms even asking to locate in the county. He assured the citizens that the board is together on findng a good industry for the site.

“We have been not been very receptive to industries that would bring a negative environment,” he said. “I don’t think, with the composition of this board that we have here, will bring an industry that will have a negative impact on our environment.”

Newly appointed commissioner, William “Billy” Wooten lives in the Kingsboro district. He, too, assured the citizens that Sanderson Farms will not locate out there. “I can assure you that I will always look out for the best interest of our community in my district,” he said. “My children are there I have business located at Kingsboro Industrial Park. The last thing I would do is jeopardize the standing business like QVC or my individual business (Kan Ban Industries).”