AP NEWS

Birds Eye vegetable factory in Beaver Dam to add 140 jobs

February 24, 2019 GMT

Beaver Dam will get another 140 manufacturing jobs between now and 2024 with the expansion of the Birds Eye cold storage and vegetable packaging plant.

Conagra Brands, owner of Birds Eye, said it plans to invest $78 million to update and expand the 342,000-square-foot plant that has served as a cold storage facility for the food industry for decades.

The company has not said yet how big the addition will be.

About 190 people currently work at the Beaver Dam plant, in the Lakeside Business Park on Beaver Dam’s north side.

The expansion project will receive up to $750,000 in state income tax credits, depending on the number of jobs created and the capital investment Conagra makes over the next five years.

WEDC secretary and CEO Mark Hogan said Birds Eye, with plants around the U.S., had considered other options for the expansion.

“Birds Eye frozen vegetables have been a fixture in freezers in Wisconsin and around the country for generations, and I applaud the company for continuing to invest and grow in our state,” Hogan said.

Beaver Dam Mayor Becky Glewen said the city, about 40 miles northeast of Madison, has a “very strong” manufacturing base. She said if Conagra follows through with plans to add 140 jobs at the Birds Eye packaging plant, “that’ll put them up there as one of our bigger employers.”

“I’m hopeful it’ll provide some good-paying jobs,” she said.

Also important, said Glewen, is the project’s impact on local farmers. Birds Eye buys carrots, green beans, corn and peas from farmers in Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota and processes vegetables at its plant in Darien, in southeast Wisconsin near the Illinois border.

WEDC spokeswoman Madeline Morgan said the state has been told the new positions will pay an average wage of $16.35 an hour. She said the company expects to complete the project by 2022.