ConAgra to expand, add 80 jobs at Russellville plant


LITTLE ROCK — ConAgra Foods said Monday it will spend more than $100 million to expand its Russellville plant and add more than 80 jobs.

The company said its recent acquisition of the Bertolli and P.F. Chang’s Home Menu frozen meal lines from Unilever made it necessary to add production lines to produce the two new items.

With the new hires, ConAgra will employ about 1,430 people at the Russellville plant, which has been in operation since 1964. The plant currently produces Banquet, Healthy Choice and Marie Callender’s products.

“ConAgra Foods has a long history in Russellville, and we are pleased to grow our presence in the area,” Mike Tracy, a senior vice president for ConAgra Foods, said in a news release. “Our dedicated employees, along with the support of the city of Russellville and the state of Arkansas, will allow us to make great food here for many years to come.”

Gov. Mike Beebe said in the release, “With agriculture as our largest industry, Arkansas has long had an established presence in the food-processing sector. When you see world-class companies like ConAgra Foods locate and then expand in Arkansas, it shows the strength of our state and our work force.”

Incentives ConAgra is receiving for the expansion include $742,000 from the Governor’s Quick-Action Closing Fund for a new access road and parking lot; an income tax credit tied to the number of new, full-time employees added; and sales tax refunds on building materials and machinery associated with the expansion.

Based in Omaha, Neb., ConAgra is one of the the nation’s largest food companies. Its products are found in 97 percent of American homes, the company said.