The company was once among the largest privately owned businesses in North Carolina, the Associated Press reported. A company spokesman said the lack of affordable cattle was behind the family's decision to cease operations. Martin's employed 180 workers.
Total cattle numbers have declined 13 out of the past 17 years, and severe drought conditions in 2012 ended most efforts to rebuild the national cattle herd. Further pressuring cattle supplies is the decision of many producers to send their herds to feedlots and to larger processors that can pay higher prices. For feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head, cattle and calves on feed for slaughter declined 6 percent in August. Placements in feedlots dropped 10 percent in July.
The family plans to focus on other businesses, including a pork-processing plant that remains open, according to news reports.