GREELEY, COLO. – Poultry processor Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. has a new poultry processing venture on the drawing board. The new complex will be located in Veracruz, Mexico, and will be built in phases.

“We've identified a project in Veracruz, which will enable us to expand first with live sales and work toward a new processing facility in the near future,” said Bill Lovette, chief executive officer, in a conference call with financial analysts on Feb. 20. “This is a new geographic market with a growing economy, making it an ideal area for us to expand, using a grower model similar to our U.S. operations.”

Mr. Lovette added Pilgrim’s Pride chose the state of Veracruz because of its large population, growing chicken consumption in the region and its proximity near a port where feed grains are imported into the country.

“We're going to start with live chicken sales first,” Mr. Lovette said. “We'll build our feed mill and a hatchery, import hatching eggs and then build out our breeder supply there. Then the next step is we'll build a processing plant as the needs tell us to.”

Mr. Lovette did not say how much money Pilgrim’s Pride is investing in the new venture. Pilgrim’s Pride currently has three chicken processing plants in Mexico.