The company said closing the facility would allow House of Raeford to focus more resources on production of fresh, ready-to-cook, further-processed and fully cooked chicken products. Production at the Raeford plant will be moved to other plants.
“We’re experiencing significant growth in chicken production and further processing.” said Bob Johnson, president and CEO. “We believe vertically integrated chicken production is our core competency and deserves 100 percent of our attention and resources.”
The company said historically high meat costs associated with cooked turkey products jumped more than 250 percent within 12 months. The result has been "unprecedented finished product prices that company's customers are not able to absorb for competitive reasons".
House of Raeford implemented a strategy to grow its chicken production volume and further-processed chicken product lines more than a year ago. Since March 2013, the company has expanded its chicken further-processing operations by acquiring two plants -- in Mocksville, NC, and Atlanta-based Filet of Chicken. The Mocksville facility opened in April and produces fully-cooked chicken products. House of Raeford said the company plans to eventually employ 400 people. Filet of Chicken produces par-fried and individually quick-frozen (IQF) further-processed products and employs 450 individuals.
The turkey cook plant closure will impact 400 employees, according to the company. Employees were notified about the facility closure on Oct. 10.
“We are grateful to the employees who have worked in our Raeford, NC operation for their loyalty and dedication, Johnson said. “We are committed to helping each of them during this transition.”
The company noted that Raeford turkey cook plant closure will not affect the remaining 5,300 House of Raeford employees, of which approximately 1,800 are employed in North Carolina.