CHARLES CITY, IOWA – After the long-awaited approval of its bid to purchase the former Simply Essentials chicken plant by a US Bankruptcy Court, officials with Pure Prairie Farms Inc. announced future plans for the facility, which is still equipped for air-chilled poultry processing to supply retail and foodservice customers. The plant, which was forced to close in August 2019 due to financial shortfalls, is also designed for CO2 stunning and a production line with a capacity of 140 birds per minute. According to court records, the plant was acquired for $9.5 million and Pure Prairie Farms plans to partner with the chicken farmers that formerly supplied Simply Essentials in addition to other producers in the region.
According to Brian Roelofs, president and chief executive officer of Pure Prairie Farms, the company will source chicken from producers raising birds on vegetable and grain-based diets that have never been treated with antibiotics to produce its premium products. He said the partnership is with local farmers who formerly supplied Simply Essentials and will add more producers as the integrated company grows.
“Everyone that’s come together in this effort has a passion for the chicken business,” Roelofs said. “It’s been a long journey, and we are excited to bring this state-of-the-art plant back to life. Not only for everyone involved, but for the greater community of Charles City. It’s now the place we call home.”
With plans to be operational by spring 2022, the company plans to first distribute products to foodservice and retail customers in the upper Midwest.
According to Roelofs, Pure Prairie Farms’ ownership group includes an executive group comprised of four other poultry industry veterans as well as investors and local farmers.
“Through the entire process, which has been years in the making, we’ve remained steadfast in our commitment to growers as partners,” he said. “We look forward to building an even stronger team as we work together, as one, to offer unmatched chicken experiences and value for one another.”