Work begins on Georgia-based company’s $16 million hatchery project in Watertown

On June 15, officials and dignitaries broke ground on a $16 million hatchery project for CWT Farms International, based in Gainesville, Georgia, at the Thousand Islands International Farm and Business Park in the city of Watertown. . (PHOTO CREDIT: CHRISTOPHER A. LORENCE)

WATERTOWN — Construction is underway on a project that will be New York State’s largest hatchery and is expected to create 20 new full-time jobs.

On June 15, CWT Farms International opened a $16 million chick hatchery in the city of Watertown.

The upcoming 50,000-square-foot hatchery is located in the Thousand Islands International Agricultural and Business Park in Jefferson County, Empire State Development (ESD) said in its announcement.

For more than 60 years, CWT, based in Gainesville, Georgia, has been producing “high-quality” broiler hatching eggs for its global customer base, ESD noted, describing CWT Farms International as a “recognized industry leader in hatching egg exports to Canada.

The Watertown facility will include a laboratory and high-tech equipment to incubate, vaccinate and handle live eggs and chicks. It will also include specialized equipment for each stage of the production process, ESD noted.

The facility was initially expected to process 500,000 eggs to produce 400,000 chicks per week and grow to process up to 1 million eggs to produce 800,000 chicks by 2025. In a change of plan, CWT Farms International will now open at full capacity.

A rendering of the project describes it as a “Lundy Group project” and bears the logo of LUNCO Design Build, a Lundy Group company headed by Chairman Michael Lundy, a well-known North Country developer.

“Jefferson County is an ideal location to set up our new hatchery and I couldn’t be more grateful for the support and partnership nationally and locally, as well as from our supply chain and construction partners. who really helped get this project off the ground,” Jeff Pierce, vice president of marketing and strategic alliances at CWT Farms International, said. “Without this support from Empire State Development and JCIDA, this project would not have come to fruition.”

To encourage the success of this project and job creation goals, the North Country Regional Economic Development Council (NCREDC) has recommended an ESD capital grant of $1 million and up to $500,000 in tax credits. of the performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program. Additionally, CWT Farms will be the first agricultural production enterprise in the new Thousand Islands Farm and Business Park, which was made possible through an NCREDC-recommended $500,000 ESD Capital Grant.

“CWT Farms International’s state-of-the-art facility shines a spotlight on the North Country as an incubator for agribusiness innovation,” said Hope Knight, President, CEO and Commissioner of Empire State Development. “We are proud to support this project which will create new jobs, strengthen cross-border activities and contribute to regional growth.

David Zembiec, CEO of Jefferson County Economic Development, thanked CWT Farms International for choosing to locate in Jefferson County.

“CWT had many options in different states for its new facility and the North Country, as the state’s gateway to Canada, and the state’s previous investment in the International Farm and Business Park of Thousand Islands, put Jefferson County on top,” Zembiec said. “We look forward to seeing this business grow in the region.”

Laura J. Boyer