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Empire State Development Announces Groundbreaking for $16 Million CWT Farms International Hatchery in Jefferson County

Watertown Facility to Produce 30 Million Chicks Per Year, Supporting Growth in New York’s Poultry Industry

Rendering of the Facility Here

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced the groundbreaking of the $16 million CWT Farms International state-of-the-art chick hatchery in Watertown, Jefferson County. For more than 60 years, CWT has produced high standard broiler hatching eggs for its global customer base. This new 50,000 square feet hatchery, located at the Thousand Islands International Agriculture and Business Park in Jefferson County, will be the largest hatchery in New York State and is expected to create 20 new full-time jobs.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “CWT Farms International’s state-of-the-art facility spotlights the North Country as an incubator for agribusiness innovation. We’re proud to support this project, which will create new jobs, strengthen cross-border business and add to regional growth.”       

CWT Farms International Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Alliances Jeff Pierce said, “Jefferson County is an ideal location to place our new hatchery and I could not be more thankful for the support and partnership at the State and local levels, and from our supply chain and construction partners who really helped get this project off the ground. Without this support from Empire State Development and the JCIDA, this project would not have become a reality.”

CWT Farms International is a recognized leader in hatching egg exports into Canada. The Watertown facility will include a laboratory and high-tech equipment to incubate, vaccinate and handle eggs and live chicks, and will include specialized state-of-the-art equipment for each stage of the production process. The facility was initially planned to handle 500,000 eggs to produce 400,000 chicks per week and grow to handle up to 1 million eggs to produce 800,000 chicks by 2025. However, CWT Farms International will open at full capacity.

To encourage this project's success and job creation goals, the North Country Regional Economic Development Council recommended a $1 million ESD capital grant and up to $500,000 in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits. Additionally, this will be the first agriculture production company in the new Thousand Islands Agriculture and Business Park, which was made possible with a $500,000 ESD capital grant recommended by the NCREDC.

North Country REDC Co-chair James McKenna said, “The North Country is uniquely positioned as a prime location for investments that leverage the region’s agricultural strengths and proximity to our top trading partner to the north. The CWT Farms International chick hatchery, as part of the Thousand Islands International Agriculture and Business Park, reflects our ongoing strategy for growth, both in New York State and beyond our borders.”           

State Senator Patti Ritchie said, “Groundbreaking of the new CWT Farms International chick hatchery in Watertown will create a ripple effect that will grow jobs, boost the local economy and support expansion of New York’s poultry industry. I would like to thank Empire State Development and the North Country Regional Economic Development Council for recognizing the importance of this project and look forward to seeing how it impacts our region, and the state as a whole.”

Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush said, “It is exciting to see groundbreaking on such a large agricultural project in the North Country. This $16 million CWT Farms International chick hatchery will be a great addition to Watertown and the surrounding areas, bringing jobs and economic activity to the region. This is a worthy endeavor for our state to invest in, and I look forward to its completion.”

Watertown Town Supervisor Joel Bartlett said, “We are pleased to welcome CWT Farms International to the Thousand Islands International Agriculture and Business Park.  The addition of CWT Farms to the community will bring good jobs and investment to the area while supporting the agricultural sector of our local economy.” 

Chief Executive Officer, Jefferson County Economic Development David Zembiec said, “I would like thank CWT Farms International for choosing to locate in Jefferson County. CWT had many options in different states for their new facility and the North County, as the State’s gateway to Canada, and the state’s previous investment in Thousand Islands International Agriculture and Business Park, put Jefferson County on top. We are looking forward to watching this company grow in the region.”

About Empire State Development

Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency. The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the New York State Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of "I LOVE NY," the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, please visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.


Kristin Devoe | [email protected] | (518) 414-1087

ESD Press Office | [email protected] | (800) 260-7313