US: Poultry producer sinks $40m into new feed mill
The House of Raeford Farms announced Tuesday [July 23] that work on the new $40m feed mill would start this summer.
The House of Raeford is one of the 10 largest chicken producers in the US and produces ready-to-cook and processed chicken products for several markets including food service, retail and export, according to company information. The family-owned company has facilities in Georgia, Louisiana and North and South Carolina.
The North Carolina-headquartered poultry producing company selected a site in Simsboro, Louisiana from the new feed production facility, said a spokesperson with the House of Raeford Farms, Inc. The site was selected because it is centrally located in relation to the company’s ingredient suppliers and contract producer farms.
“The current mill is over 50 years old and has become outdated,” the spokesperson told FeedNavigator about what prompted interest in building the new feed mill. “[It] lacks the efficiency needed to consistently produce the quality of feed product we require.”
When completed, the mill will take over for the company’s current feed mill in Choudrant, Louisiana, he said. That facility will be taken offline when the new mill opens.
Feed production and company expansion
The new feed mill is expected to take from 18 months to two years to finish building, the House of Raeford said. When complete, the facility is set to support production for the company’s Arcadia, Louisiana complex.
The complex includes a hatchery operation and ready-to-cook production, according to company information.
In addition to being more efficient, the new facility generates about 12,500 tons of feed per week, which is about double what is manufactured at the current facility, the company said.
The generation of additional feed is anticipated to allow the company to expand its contract farm production, said the spokesperson. It also should be able to support the addition of new contract producers.
Along with work on the new feed mill, the House of Raeford is investing $7m in building modifications and new equipment for its hatchery in Gibsland, Louisiana and the processing plant in Arcadia, according to company information.
The investment in the new feed mill and other facility improvements is a sign of the company’s commitment to its operations in Louisiana, said Bob Johnson, House of Raeford CEO.
“In keeping with the growth objectives of our company, our Louisiana complex is also the first of our locations to offer No Antibiotics Ever (NAE) chicken products to our customers,” he added.
However, the feed mill will not be part of the NAE production, the spokesperson told us. “That goes more to the farms and processing plant,” he added.
The company’s complex in Arcadia is anticipated to add more than 100 jobs and the company is expecting to contract for an additional 86 poultry houses in the next two years, the company said. The new construction effect for the community in northwest Louisiana is expected to be about $28m.
Improvements to the processing plant and hatchery are set to be finished before the completion of the new feed mill, the company said.
The feed mill project and other facility improvements were predated by the rebuilding of a processing facility in Wallace, North Carolina, which reopened last year, the company said. And, company facilities in South Carolina also have seen plant retrofitting and the installation of new equipment.