WALPOLE — Hubbard, the multinational poultry-breeding company that started in Walpole, has announced plans for a $20 million investment in its local operations, which will go toward adding new facilities and upgrading existing ones.
The expansion project, which will create approximately 40 jobs in the region, is set to begin immediately and commemorates Hubbard’s 100th anniversary, according to a March 19 news release.
Established in Walpole in 1921, Hubbard has grown to be a worldwide breeder, with customers in more than 100 countries. The company moved its corporate offices from Walpole to Pikeville, Tenn., in 2016 and was acquired by the Alabama-based Aviagen Group, another multinational poultry-breeding firm three years ago.
However, Hubbard still runs breeding and chick-growth facilities in Walpole, Langdon, Westmoreland and near the Westmoreland-Chesterfield border, according to spokesman Lucas Harrington.
The $20 million development will be completed in five phases, beginning with the construction of a new feed-conversion research farm at Pomeroy Farm in Walpole, he said. Work on that 20,000-square-foot structure broke ground this week, Harrington said.
The Pomeroy Farm facility will allow Hubbard to monitor and improve the rate at which its chickens grow, the March 19 release states.
Harrington said the expansion project will also replace aging farms in Langdon that were built in the 1960s, where workers monitored growth rates and feed consumption manually. The new structures, which combined will measure around 100,000 square feet, will include digital technology that tracks those data, in addition to other health metrics, he said.
That will improve both profits and animal welfare, according to Harrington, since the new technology can help prevent disease from spreading among the flock.
“We try to create the most ideal environment possible for the birds and monitor their health and growth,” he said. “We take the best of the best and breed them and sell those to our customers.”
A later phase of the project will include expanding Hubbard’s hatchery by 8,000 square feet, nearly doubling its size, and installing new incubation technology in that structure, Harrington said. The final phase, upgrades to a structure where hens lay eggs, will include adding new ventilation, eco-friendly lightbulbs and other equipment, he said.
“We’re expanding, but we’re also trying to minimize our [environmental] footprint through expansion.”
Hubbard’s managing director, Olivier Rochard, said the $20 million project — which is slated for completion in mid-2022 — will help the company broaden its global reach.
“With this investment, we’ve laid a solid foundation for success for our company, as well as our worldwide customers, in the coming 100 years,” he said.
Hubbard employs around 100 people in the Monadnock Region, according to Harrington. He said the expansion project will create approximately 40 jobs in the region, adding that he expects the company to still have some open positions that could boost its local workforce to 150.
“Pretty much everywhere we’re adding buildings, we’re going to need some help running those,” he said.
If filled, the new jobs would mean Hubbard has nearly tripled its local workforce since 2019. The company employed around 60 people in the region that year, when a Hubbard spokesman told The Sentinel that a separate $10 million development project at its Walpole facility would likely add about 40 jobs.
Walpole selectboard member Peggy Pschirrer said the town has been excited to see Hubbard’s recent investments, since the company’s local workforce had shrunk since it moved operations to Tennessee.
“I’m thrilled that they’re expanding,” she said. “... It’s very positive for our community to have the Hubbard group expanding locally, building new facilities and adding employees.”