Saline River Farms LLC and USDA officials announced plans to construct a meat processing facility just east of Marion, IL, in Williamson County.

With a grant of almost $6.9 million from USDA, the facility would process 40 million pounds of beef and 19 million lbs. of pork annually using the latest technology and automation.

Jeff Diederich, a partner with Saline River Farms, said at the announcement the project will help people locally, as there are several producers in the area, and the project will provide “an opportunity to bring dollars from outside Illinois back to Illinois, put people to work and then ship that product back out.”

Saline River Farms plans to source animals from the region and possibly neighboring states. The facility is expected to bring over 400 jobs to the area. According to the company, it has plans to open a retail store on the site and service on-demand orders through shipping. Construction is expected to start in the spring of 2023 and will take about 15-18 months to complete.