ROSE HILL, NC (WECT) – The House of Raeford announced Thursday it will close its Rose Hill turkey hatchery, Raeford turkey slaughter plant, and turkey growing operations in eastern North Carolina.
According to a press release, the closures are the result of a plan to focus resources on increasing chicken production and expanding the company's fully cooked turkey and chicken products over the next few years.
The aforementioned locations are expected to close over the next four to six months.
Though the turkey slaughter plant in Raeford will shut down, the company is expected to continue to operate the cook plant at the same location. The cook plant currently employees 400 workers.
According to a press release, a decline in turkey consumption and the rapidly falling commodity turkey prices contributed to the company's decision. Chicken sales for the House of Raeford, however, have grown.
"We intend to further expand the chicken business over the next two to three years so that our increased chicken volume will replace the turkey production we are phasing out," said House of Raeford CEO Bob Johnson in a press release. "This expansion will provide opportunities for as many of our growers and employees as possible to transition into the chicken business."
According to the Department of Agriculture, North Carolina ranks second nationally in turkey production with Sampson County producing the most in the state.
A press release said the House of Raeford will help employees who are impacted by this change by offering severance packages, priority employment opportunities at other plants, and community transition services.
According to a press release, 950 people currently work for the Raeford turkey slaughter plant. That will close after the production of holiday turkeys for customers is complete.
The press release went on to say the turkey hatchery in Rose Hill currently employs 30, most of whom will be offered jobs at other company facilities in the area.
According to the House of Raeford, the remaining 5,300 company employees will not be impacted by this decision.
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