December 12, 2019--The new, $70M Delta Peanut plant continues to take shape in Jonesboro’s Craighead Technology Park. Right now, they are finishing up taking in and storing this fall’s harvest. Starting this spring, leaders at Delta Peanut will turn their attention to hiring more people to fill several different types of jobs as the facility continues to grow, and the shelling plant takes shape.
Delta Peanut’s Chief Operating Officer, Dirk Lindsey, says A-State graduates should look at Delta Peanut as a great career option, no matter their degree field.
“If you don’t have a degree that you think fits this position, I wouldn’t limit my thinking to think that they’re not going to take me because that’s not necessarily the case,” Linsey continued to say, “the degree is not as important as the person who has it.”
Delta Peanut, whose CEO is A-State Alum Tommy Jumper, has plans to hire over 100 people in the next year. A-State graduates from several different areas of study should consider the opportunities that Delta Peanut can offer. People with backgrounds in Ag Business, food safety, electronics, computer systems, and of course, engineers will find Delta Peanut offers a wide variety of positions suited for their skills and education.
“There will be a lot of jobs for that,” Lindsey said when asked if a brand new A-State graduate could find a home at Delta Peanut, “there will be entry-level positions that can build into high-level management positions over the years.”
“This will be the kind of place will be able to bring people in on the ground floor. Train them all the way up, and the sky is sort of the limit,” he added.
Lindsey says Delta Peanut will offer very competitive salaries and benefits. Lindsey also says anyone who joins Delta Peanut isn’t merely an employee; they are a member of a family.
“We are farmer-owned. We want a culture that we are a family,” Lindsey says with pride, ”everyone takes care of everybody. We want people that are honest and hard-working, that all have the same goals.”
When you look at the students A-State generates, the workforce is there to make an impact at Delta Peanut. According to the Arkansas State University System 2018-2019 Factbook, there were 468 total students pursuing degrees in the College of Agriculture at the Jonesboro campus. Over 150 of them seeking bachelor’s degrees in Ag Business.
Dig deeper into the A-State stats, and you’ll find over 500 future engineers and computer scientists and over 750 students spread across the spectrum of sciences. Those degrees, combined with the desire to be part of the “family culture” Lindsey describes, is a recipe to land that first job and stay in Jonesboro cheering on the Red Wolves.
The 60,000 square foot shelling plant is currently under construction on the 70-acre site in the Craighead Technology Park. However, the peanut drying, sorting, and sampling side of Delta Peanut is already up and running, taking in over 5,000 tons of peanuts so far in Jonesboro for drying and sampling. When Delta Peanut’s other two locations in Marianna and Pocahontas are factored in, over 75,000 tons of peanuts have been brought in and stored as of the beginning of December, according to Lindsey.
When the processing plant in Jonesboro opens in the Spring of 2020, it will be producing 25-30 tons of shelled peanuts per hour. Most of those nuts will be sent off to nearby sites in Memphis and Little Rock to make peanut butter and other peanut-based products.
Having this dual-purpose makes Delta Peanut unique as it is a much an agriculture company as it is a food producer. And nowadays, being a food producer is as much about technology as it is about taste.
“This will be a highly automated facility, so our maintenance team will have to have more skills than I’ve been used to in the past,” Lindsey said. “we will need people with an electronics background.”
The careers that will be available at Delta Peanut are comparable to the product they produce in that you can’t pin it down to just one thing.
“We’re gonna be so diverse there is a pretty good chance that the positions we’ll have will fit a lot of people,” Lindsey said.
And by the time a new harvest rolls around in the fall of 2020, there will be a fresh crop of A-State graduates with the education to fill in any cracks Delta Peanut may need filling.