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Poultry processor to start up in Arkansas plant

ARKADELPHIA, Ark. (AP) -- A specialty poultry processing company says it will hire more than 170 people and invest $5.4 million at a site in Arkadelphia, Ark.

Vikon Farms announced Monday that it will operate in a former Petit Jean Poultry plant.

The company will also create jobs outside the plant by contracting with of growers from El Dorado and Union County along with a Vikon-supported hatchery in Prescott.

The Vikon Farms plant will specialize in chickens that are free-range and naturally grown. The company requires that the birds be fed a grain-only diet, with no added hormones or antibiotics. The company serves a number of Asian markets.

Arkadelphia and Clark County passed an economic development tax, and Vikon Farms is the first company to be brought in since the tax was approved.