Peanut processor bringing jobs

Published 5:08 am Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Working for peanuts may take on a whole new meaning in the coming months — thanks to Brooks Peanut Company’s decision to build a processing facility in Escambia County.

Frank Talbot and Lee Talbot, co-owners of Brooks Peanut Co., told county commissioners Monday they plan to break ground soon on a new processing facility set for construction near Flomaton.

“We have cleared the property and excavation on the dirt work should start (Tuesday),” Frank Talbot said.

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Talbot said the construction now under way would consist of a facility to process peanuts from around the region creating as many as 35 jobs during the harvest season.

“Out of season, we expect to have four or five full-time employees,” Talbot said. “During the buying season, we should have 25 or more workers. During the harvest season, the plant will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week”

Talbot said the seasonal employees would be working in two shifts for the four-month harvest and buying season.

Talbot said the construction of the plant located along a stretch of Alabama 113 just outside of Flomaton would be a $6 million to$7 million project.

“We hope to see construction begin in the next week or so,” Talbot said. “Things will be up and running by August or September.”

Based in Samson, Brooks Peanut Company sells its processed nuts to a number of companies including M&M/Mars.

“Our biggest customer right now is M&Ms,” Talbot said. “Our peanuts go into their peanut M&Ms. We also sell J.L. Smuckers and Conagra Foods for peanut butter.”

Marshall Rogers, director of the Escambia County Industrial Development Authority, said the announcement is great news for the area.

“We are pleased they have chosen to be in our county,” Rogers said. “The increased number of jobs available is always a blessing for any area. We hope that with a business coming to the area, others businesses and industry will follow.”

In other business, the commission:

• Tabled a motion to consider vacation of a portion of Memory Lane off U.S. 31 near Brewton. After residents in the area voiced their opposition to the closing of a portion of the road, Commissioner Raymond Wiggins asked for more time to consult with others affected by the proposed closure.

• Considered speed limit changes on Still Farm Road off Jacksprings Road near Atmore; Laurel Road and Oak Road in the Brewton area. Still Farm Road will have a posted 25 mile per hour limit with Laurel and Oak roads having a 20 mile per hour speed limit posted.

• Agreed to install a four-way stop at Old Bratt Road and 21st Avenue near Atmore. Commissioner Brandon Smith said the number of accidents and reported speeding issues in the area could be corrected with the new intersection signage. “I feel like it would help with the accidents at that intersection and cut down on speeding,” Smith said. The signs will be erected April 22.

• Heard information concerning clean-up plans in the county April 20-27 which includes Earth Day on April 22. Commissioner Larry White said the county is partnering with People Against a Littered State to promote cleaning up areas where garbage and trash are problems.

“We are hoping to have some volunteers to step up and help with some clean up in the county,” White said. “Garbage bags will be provided for the volunteers and the county will be taking care of picking up the bags once they are filled.”

Those who choose to volunteer for the clean-up efforts are invited to call the Escambia County Commission office at 867-0208; Larry White Insurance at 296-2471; Commissioner Brandon Smith at 368-2148 or the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce at 368-3305.