Sessions tours plant

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 24, 2008

DEMOPOLIS &8212; The importance of growth and jobs was the topic of discussion during a special visit from Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala, as he toured the Foster Farms Demopolis factory Tuesday.

The company, which began its East-coast operations in Demopolis in 1996, recently completed a $10 million expansion that included a blending operation, oven, spiral freezer and fryer. Sessions last visited the plant six years ago, before a previous expansion in 2004.

In addition to expansion, Burnham said the company has gone five years without a serious accident resulting in the loss of a life, which is equivalent to about 2.5 million work hours.

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After meeting with the management team at the plant, Sessions and his wife, Mary, were able to tour the facility. Donning the required hair nets, goggles, gloves, suits and rubber boots, Sessions was able to see the company&8217;s growth firsthand.

He commented about the specific economic crises for both the state and this region. Sessions said while the Black Belt region has not always been known for its growth, the more than 300 jobs at Foster Farms is a positive sign for the future.

Burnham said the majority of their workers are from Demopolis and the immediately surrounding areas, but at least 40 percent of their workers come from surrounding Greene and Perry counties. Furthermore, the company has not experienced a layoff since 1998.

Since completing their expansion, Burnham said they hope to increase their production to about 50 million pounds of corn dogs a year. In order to do this, the plant will turn out 1 million corn dogs, or nearly 225,00 pounds daily.