An expansion of Perdue Farms’ cooking operation in Perry will add 125 new jobs to Houston County.

Gov. Nathan Deal announced Tuesday that the company is investing $42 million to install a third cooking line to produce cooked chicken products for consumers and restaurants.

A news release from his office says that Perdue has created 1,000 jobs since it moved here in 2004. Perdue Farms has also expanded its processing plant and opened a distribution center.

“This expansion will help us meet the growing demand for no-antibiotics-ever and organic products, and maintain the high level of customer service and reliability our customers in Georgia and across the country expect from Perdue,” said Randy Day, CEO of Perdue Farms.

The expansion is expected to be complete in January of 2019, according to a company spokeswoman.

Houston County Development Authority Executive Director Angie Gheesling says the project is a sign of a healthy economy.

"When your existing industry continues to expand, that's a true sign of how your economy is doing and also how you're being treated locally. As most of these projects are now, this was a competitive project," Gheesling said in her office on Tuesday.

Because of that, Houston County and the state of Georgia have agreed to tax relief for Perdue's new equipment that'll come in as part of the new cooking line.

Gheesling says industrial growth like this can spur job growth in other fields like the service industries and in home building.

She also says getting the expansion to come to Georgia was a team effort that took more than a year and involved several County and state agencies.

Perdue Farms says the hiring process is already underway and the company is looking for salaried and hourly employees in production, maintenance, human resources and quality assurance.

If you're interested in the job openings, you can find them here.