Jim Hook, email@example.com Published 1:26 p.m. ET Dec. 8, 2017 Updated 4:06 p.m. ET Dec. 8, 2017
MERCERSBURG – Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch is shipping eggs from a warehouse in the Cumberland Valley Business Park until its planned egg farm is fully operational in Montgomery Township.
The company had planned to have chickens laying eggs by this time, according to L. Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corporation.
“It’s taking longer than anticipated,” Ross said. “They remain fully committed to the Montgomery Township operation. I would expect Phase I to be completed in 2018.”
largest animal farms in Franklin County at 8069 Corner Road. The company is to settle on the property “in the very near future” with construction starting in March, according to Ross. Phase I would include a couple of hen houses. It will be several years before all eight houses are built.
At full operation, the poultry farm will house about 2.4 million hens laying a billion eggs a year. About 190 people are expected to work for the farm.
About 40 trucks a day will haul eggs and wastewater from the farm, according to company officials. Herbruck’s has been trying to come up with a route that can handle 102-inch-wide tractor-trailers. Herbruck’s is expecting final approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation “any day now,” Ross said.
Local municipalities are weighing in. Mercersburg Borough Council meets at 7 p.m. Monday to consider Herbruck’s latest truck route proposal.
Interim Borough Manager Derek Stoy said, “It takes them a mile or two out of their way to come back safely” to Main Street.
Trucks coming from the egg farm would cross Main Street at the Park/Oregon street traffic signal, according to Stoy. They would continue to Landis Drive and make a left. At Mercersburg Road (Loudon Road), they could turn right to go to Chambersburg or turn left to go to Greencastle by way of a traffic signal at Main Street.
Herbruck’s has an agreement with the borough that the company will be responsible for street improvements, including improving the turning radius at Oregon Street and Landis Drive, according to Stoy.
“Right now Landis Drive is in very bad condition and can’t handle significant traffic,” Stoy said.
A traffic signal is not planned at Landis Drive and Mercersburg Road because the intersection does not meet PennDOT warrants, even with the additional truck traffic, according to Stoy. Part of the intersection is in Peters Township.
Earlier this year Herbruck’s received land development approval from Montgomery Township and a state permit for a concentrated animal feeding operation.
“They could have started in early fall,” Ross said. “They wanted to be sure everything was approved. They are methodically working their way through the appeal process successfully. Some folks have pushed back on the project.”
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Meanwhile, Herbruck’s has purchased a former factory at 5785 Sunset Pike in Greene Township from FCADC for $1 million. The company installed refrigeration and began receiving and shipping eggs in mid-October, according to Ross.
“They had a sense of urgency to get this up and operating quickly,” Ross said. “In order to meet deliveries and customer demand they needed a place they could control.”
Based in Michigan, Herbruck’s is one of the largest providers of eggs to McDonald’s restaurants east of the Mississippi River.
About 10 people work at the warehouse, Ross said.
The warehouse previously had been home to Vetter Forks Inc., which in July moved to a larger building in the Cumberland Valley Business Park.
Herbruck’s should continue to use the warehouse until the farm in Montgomery Township is going full tilt, according to Ross.
“They will acclimate in the community over time and it will f give the community time to adjust to them,” Ross said. “When they are fully operational, it will be as if they have been part of the community for a long time.”
Jim Hook, 717-262-4759