Tyson execs want to keep plant in Kansas, AG officials say

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – What exactly happened to those plans for Tyson to build in Tonganoxie?

“I thought they just didn’t want to hear my side of the story, they wanted me to just listen to their side of the story,” said Robert Holland, Leavenworth County Commissioner.

Holland said some residents were worried that building the new plant would bring a variety of health concerns including foul smells.

Holland visited a similar plant in Tennessee, to see for himself.

“They had chickens in there, and the chickens are being fattened up,” said Holland. “Yes, you smell a chicken smell inside, but you go outside the building there is no chicken smell.”

He said a 3-0 vote to build the plant in the county suddenly flipped to a 2-1 vote against the facility.

Holland said at least one county commissioner was feeling the heat from the public.

“The minute he started getting some push back, and he thought this was going to affect the way he looked at him in his district he caved,” said Holland.

David Dennis, Sedgwick County Commissioner, said the county is just in fact finding mode now.

Dennis tells KSN the Tyson deal has his attention. The Department of Agriculture confirmed today that Tyson executives still have their sights set on building in Kansas.

Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O’Donnell said he spoke with AG officials directly about that today.

Both he and Dennis feel Sedgwick County could be the right fit.

“Our area is looking at 6.1 percent unemployment right now, so if we could find something that we could employ 1,500-1,600 people, that is obviously something we are looking at.”

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