Assemblyman Steve Hawley (R,I,C-Batavia) today expressed satisfaction and relief in the wake of an announcement by the Allen Canning Company that it will be purchasing three Birds Eye canning plants in Western New York. The Bergen and Oakfield plants fall within Hawley’s 139th Assembly District.
“When Birds Eye announced it was leaving, we were faced with uncertainty and concern for our local farmers and workers who are employed at those plants,” said Hawley. “Allen Canning’s decision to operate in this part of the nation shows it has great confidence in our local farming industry, as well as the people of our community.”
The future of the three plants, with one also in Brockport, remained uncertain until the Allen announcement, which will secure the jobs at the Oakfield and Bergen plants while sustaining demand for the region’s agricultural producers.
Hawley, a member of the Assembly Committee on Agriculture, pointed to the plants’ widespread importance to the community with 90 full-time employees and up to 400 seasonal workers being employed at both facilities.
“Without these plants hundreds of our neighbors are out of work and local farmers lose a significant market for their crop,” said Hawley. “The economic downside could have been a very difficult obstacle to overcome.”
Allen’s decision to locate in Genesee County was spurred by inclusion in a state-designated Empire Zone, which provides tax breaks and other incentives for development.
“This region relies heavily on agriculture and farming,” said Hawley. “Sustaining current markets and looking to expand into other fields such as alternative energy will only make this community economically stronger in the future.”
Besides the three local facilities, Allen will also buy one plant in Georgia and one in Wisconsin.