Business View Magazine | May 2019

259 BUSINESS VIEW MAGAZINE MAY 2019 Hereford first grew as the county’s main transportation hub at the turn of the last century, after the Pecos and Northern Texas Railway, a subsidiary of the Santa Fe line, built tracks from Amarillo to the Texas-New Mexico border. Today, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) still runs 75 trains a day through the heart of town. Highways began to run to and from Hereford as early as the 1920s, facilitating better movement of farm products, and linking it all to parts of the county and beyond. Today, the city is also served by the Hereford Municipal Airport, which offers a lighted, 6,100-ft. runway and can easily accommodate large corporate jets. Caviness Beef Packers, a major area employer, is located five miles southwest of Hereford on the north side of Hwy. 60. The company is currently expanding its operations and will be adding another 600 jobs to its workforce by year’s end. The Merrick Pet Care Company is another big employer in Hereford, and over the next several years, it will also increase its payroll by 500 new jobs. These looming expansions present several challenges for both the county and city as they struggle to supply enough water to their corporate entities and enough housing for their new residents. Regarding the water situation, Hereford Mayor, Tom Simons, reports that in addition to improving its reservoirs, the city is drilling new deepwater wells on recently obtained land. “That’s going to be a long-term benefit,” he states. “It’s going, ultimately, to give us a water supply for 80 years. We have the Caviness packing plant, as well as one of the area’s ethanol plants inside the city limits, which is a big user of water. We also have Nestlé (corporate owner of Merrick), which is another big employer and they continue to add to their facility. They have somewhere between 900 and 1,000 employees and they continue to grow.” Regarding housing, Wade Hawkins, Hereford’s Economic Development Coordinator, admits that even without the coming new jobs, the city is in “a bit of a housing crunch. We’ve got quite a few custom-built homes, but no spec properties to house incoming people that aren’t in the market for a custom home,” he explains. “So, with those needs in mind, we’ve contracted a residential developer that has purchased 92 acres that adjoin the city, and will be annexed by the city, so it will have all city utilities supplied to them. That will initially be 240 lots for single-family housing. A few of those – 20 to 30 – will be for either duplex or townhomes. So, hopefully, DEAF SMI TH COUNTY , TEXAS