Cal-Maine Foods, the largest producer and distributor of fresh shell eggs in the U.S., announced this week that its board of directors has approved a $40.1 million capital project to expand cage-free egg production at its Guthrie, Kentucky, production facility. The project will include related site work and the additional infrastructure to convert existing conventional capacity to house approximately 1.5 million cage-free hens and 300,000 pullets. Construction will commence immediately with initial conversions expected in early 2021, first pullet placements by summer 2021 and the first layer house finished by fall 2021. Project completion is expected by late 2022. The company plans to fund the project through a combination of available cash on hand, investments and operating cash flow.
“This latest expansion supports our continued efforts to position Cal-Maine Foods as an industry leader in meeting future customer goals for cage-free eggs,” said Dolph Baker, chairman and chief executive officer of Cal-Maine Foods. “The Guthrie location is strategically located close to a large customer footprint, which will enable us to enhance our distribution of cage-free eggs for this important market region.”
Including this project, Baker said the company has allocated approximately $462.5 million during the prior twelve years to facilities, equipment, and related operations to expand our cage-free production.
“Across the country, a growing number of states have passed minimum space and/or cage-free requirements with implementations ranging from January 2022 to January 2026. We believe adding this capacity in Cal-Maine Foods' facilities over the next two years will help drive our continued efforts to meet customers’ needs.”
Cal-Maine Foods is primarily engaged in the production, grading, packing, and sale of fresh shell eggs, including conventional, cage-free, organic, and nutritionally enhanced eggs. The company sells the majority of its shell eggs in states across the southwestern, southeastern, mid-western and mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S.