Concord, N.H. – December 18, 2014 – The saga of the Fournier Foods major site plan application came to a conclusion last night as the Concord Planning Board moved to approve the proposal. Fournier Foods is planning on building a 5,500-square-foot USDA inspected facility that would enable New Hampshire’s poultry meat industry to grow.
The facility will be built on a 20 acre parcel on Locke Road, just off of Exit 16 along Interstate 93. With 23 employees the plant will be able to process 2,000 birds per eight-hour shift. Fournier Foods plans on operating around the clock with three shifts, with the capability of processing 6,000 birds a day.
The ability to have this many USDA certified birds processed in one day opens up many possibilities for poultry producers around the state. Amy Gowell Drogue along with her fiancée Brain Matarozzo recently purchased a farm in Center Barnstead. The young couple is looking forward to building their farming operation and is excited about the opportunities that Fournier Foods will provide. “Now that Fournier has the go ahead, we are planning on raising chickens and turkeys,” said Amy. “The USDA certification opens markets to restaurants and grocery stores, so the possibilities are endless.”
The application approval for Fournier Foods has generated great enthusiasm among the farming community. “This is a huge step for New Hampshire agriculture,” said Jeff Holmes, president of the New Hampshire Farm Bureau. “Fournier Foods will open many doors for poultry farming in the state and we are eager for the construction of this facility.”
There were about 30 people in attendance at last night’s meeting however, no public comments were taken. Past meetings generated numerous comments from East Concord residents in opposition, with their main concern being odor.
Planning Board Chair Gerry Drypolcher mentioned the amount of time and thorough discussion that occurred over the past three months and thanked City staff for their efforts in getting answers to questions. He also pointed out there are no grounds to deny the application and doing so would put the City at risk of litigation.
Planning Board member Richard Lavers, reiterated his concern of the categorization of the poultry processing facility. He believes the facility is more of an agricultural use rather than processing and would require a variance for the industrial zoned site. “It was ignored and they got a free pass,” said Lavers, who opposed the application. All other board members in attendance moved to approve the finalizing of the site plan with conditions.
The vote enables Fournier Foods to finalize the purchase and sale to the Locke Road property and work towards building the facility in the near future. “Our goal is to get refocused, we’ve been in the process of not knowing for months,” said Fournier Foods owner Craig Fournier. “Now, we are looking forward to moving ahead so we can help local farmers.”