A closed sawmill in Gurdon will breathe new life with the upcoming expansion of a pallet manufacturer.
The Gurdon-based McKinzie Farms Trucking & Excavating was approved Tuesday for a $63,000 incentives package from the Economic Development Corp. of Clark County.
The company presently manufactures standard-sized wooden pallets. With 58 employees, McKinzey Farms plans to add 21 new jobs to its current operation and is expected to purchase the Anthony-Higgs sawmill site on Old Whelen Road, an operation that shut down in 2019.
McKinzie Farms is expected to manufacture wooden posts using pulpwood, and to mill cants into pallet stock. It will add custom pallet manufacturing to its catalog of services. In addition to existing contracts, the business is in talks with the U.S. military to build custom-spec pallets, according to owner Mike McKenzie.
A motion to approve the incentives package was approved overwhelmingly by a voice vote, with Eric Hughes abstaining.
Tuesday’s approval marks the second time the EDCCC has awarded incentives to McKenzie Farms. Shelley Short, CEO of the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance, noted afterward that the Alliance competed with a neighboring county for the mill’s expansion.
Funding for the company’s expansion comes from a voter-approved 1/2-cent sales tax collected in Clark County and set aside for attracting new industry and retaining existing jobs.