North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced this week that Mountaire Farms, an integrated poultry processing company, plans to invest nearly $44 million over the next three years to launch a feed mill operation at a site near Laurinburg, N.C. The mill is expected to provide growth opportunities for local chicken producers and grain suppliers as well as bring 65 new jobs to Scotland County, N.C.
“These new, good-paying jobs mean better opportunities for hard-working people and their communities in Scotland County,” Cooper said. “Agriculture has a long and proud history in North Carolina, and Mountaire Farms’ new state-of-the-art operations are a sign that the agriculture industry has a bright future here.”
The company’s Scotland County operations will employ machine operators, maintenance specialists, drivers and management personnel. Wages will vary by position, but the average compensation for the new positions will be $51,408 per year. For comparison, Scotland County’s average annual wage is approximately $34,037.
“We believe North Carolina is the ideal place for Mountaire Farms to grow,” said Paul Downes, Mountaire president and chief executive officer. “We are very encouraged by the support we have received from the state of North Carolina, Scotland County, Scotland Economic Development Corp., Laurinburg Maxton Airport Commission, the local community and others. This is a fantastic project, and we look forward to getting started.”
Founded in 1914, Mountaire Farms is a fully integrated producer of branded and private-label chicken for U.S. and international consumer markets. The Delaware-based company has production operations in four states. In North Carolina, Mountaire Farms employs nearly 2,700 people across seven locations.
North Carolina Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC) were instrumental in the expansion project. State commerce secretary Tony Copeland added, “Mountaire Farms is a prominent name in North Carolina food manufacturing, and its latest expansion reinforces the state’s $5 billion poultry industry.”
Mountaire Farms’ expansion in North Carolina was made possible, in part, by a performance-based grant of up to $200,000 from the One North Carolina Fund, which provides financial assistance in support of local governments for creating jobs and attracting economic investment. Companies receive no money up front and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for grant funds. All of the fund's grants require a local government match.
In addition to North Carolina Commerce and EDPNC, other key partners in the project include the North Carolina General Assembly, North Carolina Department of Transportation, North Carolina Community College System, NC Railroad Co., Scotland County, Laurinburg Maxton Airport Commission, Scotland County Economic Development Corp. and North Carolina’s Southeast Regional Partnership.