VAN BUREN, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Simmons Foods announced plans January 6 for a $100 million expansion of its prepared foods operation in Van Buren.

According to a news release, the project will add 65,000 square feet to the existing plant to make way for two new highly automated production and packaging lines.

The plans also include enhanced interior spaces for team members and improved traffic flow in and around the site.

“This investment will create 100 new jobs, including highly skilled positions to support robotics and automation processes,” President of Simmons Prepared Foods Joel Sappenfield said. “The expansion will also support growth in the local economy and assist in meeting market demand for one of the fastest growing segments of the business – cooked products.”

The company says it expects to break ground on the project in January and have production online by the first quarter of 2023.

Nabholz Construction will serve as the general contractor on the build.

Simmons currently employs around 600 full-time team members at the Van Buren location. The operation consists of three production lines, producing around 110 million pounds of chicken products a year. The expansion will increase annual production capacity by around 100 million pounds.