BASTROP, La. -- Today, Gov. Bobby Jindal and DG Foods CEO Duffy McKenzie celebrated the opening of a DG Foods LLC plant that reclaims part of a dormant paper mill and puts hundreds of Louisiana residents back to work in Morehouse Parish.
Two years after International Paper closed a pulp mill, DG Foods announced it would invest $9.7 million in an 88,000-square-foot building at the former IP site, with the investment leading to full employment of 317 people in early 2012. In opening the plant this summer, DG Foods already has hired 200 people.
Gov. Jindal said,"When IP closed its mill, this community came together to help each other and put together a game plan to get our people employed and back on their feet as quickly as possible. We said that when one part of our state hurts, our entire state hurts – and I made a promise to be with you for the long haul until people got back to work. Bringing DG Foods to Bastrop is part of our promise to help Morehouse Parish recover following the closure of IP while also ensuring that our people can stay here at home, raise their families and pursue their dreams.”
Louisiana Economic Development estimates the 317 new direct jobs will result in 936 new indirect jobs in the Northeast Region, for a total of 1,253 total new jobs.
"DG Foods is excited to open our new facility in Bastrop," McKenzie said. "The city of Bastrop and the State of Louisiana have been excellent to work with. They have been true partners in seeing this project through to this point. We look forward to a bright future with the City of Bastrop and Morehouse Parish."
DG Foods began operations in late June with an initial shift and added another shift on July 5. The company plans to have all 317 jobs filled by the first quarter of 2012. Final renovations to the facility are projected to be complete by Sept. 1.
To secure the expansion, LED offered an incentive package to DG Foods that includes customized workforce training from LED FastStart® and a performance-based loan from LED’s Rapid Response Fund of $700,000 for the building acquisition, as well as a performance-based, forgivable loan of $2.85 million for building improvements from LED’s Economic Development Loan Program. DG Foods also is expected to utilize the Enterprise Zone and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.
"The project would not have occurred without key leaders at the state and local levels combining efforts to identify a suitable business prospect, a feasible building site, and an incentive package that worked for the company and all parties involved," LED Secretary Stephen Moret said. "DG Foods represents an excellent diversification of the local manufacturing base and holds the potential to reverse and stabilize much of the economic loss Bastrop and Morehouse Parish sustained with the closing of the IP mill."
About DG Foods
Headquartered in Hazlehurst, Miss., DG Foods LLC was formed in 2004 by three poultry executives with combined experience of more than 75 years in the poultry industry. Currently, DG Foods employs more than 500 employees companywide and handles in excess of 250 million pounds of product annually.