GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. (AP) _ General Mills, the maker of Cheerios, Total and Wheaties breakfast cereals, plans to build a new food production plant on a 100-acre site it is buying in Georgia, the company said Wednesday.

General Mills said it will spend ''in the $100 million range'' on the Covington, Ga. plant, its seventh major domestic packaged foods production facility and its first in the southeastern United States.

The plant is part of General Mills' previously announced $1.6 billion plan to invest in its consumer foods, restaurant and specialty retailing businesses during the next three years.

Site preparation for the Covington plant is expected to begin this fall. The new plant initially will produce Big G breakfast cereals and employ between 110 and 150 people.

Ultimately, however, the plant will be expanded to provide production and.or distribution facilities for the company's other dry packaged foods brands that now include Betty Crocker cake mixes, Bisquick, Hamburger and Tuna Helpers, Fruit Roll-Ups and Pop Secret microwave popcorn, General Mills said.

The company's other major food lines include Gold Medal flour, Gorton's seafoods, Yoplait yogurt and Vroman's frozen novelties.

''General Mills' packaged foods volume has been growing at a significantly faster rate than the food industry as a whole,'' said the company's president, Mark Willes. ''In order to continue this aggressive growth and serve our customers well, General Mills needs to increase capacity to produce our cereals and other food products.''

General Mills currently operates major domestic package foods manufacturing facilities in Buffalo, N.Y.; Toledo, Ohio; South and West Chicago, Ill.; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Lodi, Calif.

Consumer Foods accounted for about two-thirds of General Mills' $5.2 billion sales in fiscal 1987.

Other major General Mills businesses include Red Lobster, York's and The Olive Garden restaurants and Talbots and Eddie Bauer specialty retailers. The company employs more than 65,000 people worldwide.