Allen Harim breaks ground on Dagsboro hatchery

Date Published: 
Nov. 2, 2017

Coastal Point • Kerin Magill: Allen Harim broke ground on its new hatchery in Dagsboro on Wednesday, Oct. 25. Local dignitaries were on hand for the event.Coastal Point • Kerin Magill: Allen Harim broke ground on its new hatchery in Dagsboro on Wednesday, Oct. 25. Local dignitaries were on hand for the event.Allen Harim, a South Korea-based chicken producer with several facilities on Delmarva, broke ground on Wednesday, Oct. 25, on a $22 million hatchery in Dagsboro.

Gov. John Carney attended the ceremony, taking a moment to hold one of the chicks that had chirped from their basket on a nearby table while Carney joined Allen Harim officials, as well as local, state and county officials, in celebrating the beginning of the hatchery construction.

“This is a big deal. This is a really big deal,” Carney said. The governor emphasized the importance of “making sure we cultivate our poultry industry and our individual poultry farmers” in Delaware.

Rory DeWeese, Allen Harim senior director of live operations, said the 70,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility will “encompass” the current building. The hatchery will be capable of hatching 2.5 million eggs each week.

Coastal Point • Kerin Magill: A basket of chicks proved irresistible for Gov. John Carney, who is joined by state Representatives Rich Collins and Ruth Briggs King, as well as Sussex County Council President Michael Vincent at the groundbreaking for a $22 million hatchery in Dagsboro.Coastal Point • Kerin Magill: A basket of chicks proved irresistible for Gov. John Carney, who is joined by state Representatives Rich Collins and Ruth Briggs King, as well as Sussex County Council President Michael Vincent at the groundbreaking for a $22 million hatchery in Dagsboro.“This is an exciting moment for this company and a significant investment for our company on Delmarva,” said Allen Harim President and Chief Executive Officer Joe Moran. “This facility will be energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly and the most technologically-advanced hatchery on Delmarva,” Moran said.

State Rep. Gerald Hocker (R-38th) said, “I’m thankful every day for the chicken industry in Sussex County. Where would Sussex County be without our poultry industry, without our agricultural industry?”

State Rep. Rich Collins (R-41st) praised the new facility, telling those present that he had worked in the Allen hatchery in Seaford as a young man. There, he said, “I learned the value of hard work.

“There are lots of really good jobs in the chicken industry,” Collins said, adding that he thinks the rural location of the hatchery is a plus.

Construction of the facility, DeWeese said, is estimated to be completed by late December 2018. Once it is operating, Allen Harim will close its main hatchery in Seaford. Employees at that hatchery, as well as the existing one at the company’s Nine Foot Road site, will be offered jobs at the new hatchery and at other facilities within the company.

The existing Dagsboro hatchery was built in 1973 by Cargill and was purchased by Allen Family Foods in 1988, before becoming Allen Harim in 2011. The new hatchery will be about twice the size of the current one. New technology will allow Allen Harim to recycle 80 percent of the water used at the hatchery. All wastewater from the hatchery will be disposed of using spray irrigation on land owned by Allen Harim.

Construction on the project is being done by C.R. Crawford Construction of Fayetteville, Ark. That company recently completed a 75,000-square-foot incubation center in Springdale, Ark., for Tyson Foods.

DeWeese said the selection of the general contractor for the job was critical. With such a large facility, producing a high volume of chicks, he said, “You just have to have everything right. You have to have the right attitude. You’ve got to start out with the chicks the right way.”