Davie chicken plant reopening with up to 200 jobs; veterans to get first shot
MOCKSVILLE — After being closed for more than two years, the former Crestwood Farms (Townsends) processing plant on Eaton Road in Mocksville is up and running again. House or Raeford Farms is reopening the plant and bringing up to 200 jobs, a news release from the Davie County Economic Development Commission said.
House of Raeford Farms is operated and based out of Rose Hill with additional facilities in Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina and South Carolina. With more than 5,500 employees, House of Raeford Farms is one of the largest poultry producers in the United States.
Agriculture is an $80 billion industry in North Carolina and when Townsends (Omtron) filed for bankruptcy and closed the plant in October, 2011, hundreds of local folks lost jobs and the ripple effect impacted chicken farmers across the state. Even with an all-hands-on-deck effort by state and local leaders, it was reported at the time that the plant would be closed for the foreseeable future. The good news was that the processing equipment was still in the building and the 65,000 square foot building on 6 acres was in good shape.
House of Raeford Farms was the successful bidder at the bankruptcy auction in October, 2013. The company could have removed the equipment from the building for use at processing plants it operates in four states and put the building on the market. After exploring the Mocksville operation, House of Raeford Farms decided to reopen the plant, and invest in upfitting the facilities to state of the art standards.
Steve Mixon is the production manager for the Mocksville plant and is excited about being in Davie County.
“My kids love the schools here, and this is the first place I’ve lived in several years that really feels like home. Davie County is a great fit for Raeford Farms,” he said. “Employees here have a strong work ethic and excellent attitudes and doing business with local contractors takes just a handshake to seal the deal.
“We’re in this for the long haul. After 70 years in the business, Raeford Farms doesn’t give up on long term projects. We are starting out slow and building the right team for the long term. We currently have about 35 full time employees and expect to build up to about 200 employees over the next 24 months.”
All hiring is done through the N.C. Employment Security Commission and the company is committed to giving military veterans the first shot at new job openings. Jobs are open to veterans only for the first 24 hours a new job opening is posted. The company received 250 applications in the first three days that openings were available.
The company is also looking for a volunteer chaplain who would be available to provide personal and spiritual care and counseling for employees. “We believe that investing in the lives of our employees encourages the employees to invest in the Raeford Farms team,” Mixon said.
Terry Bralley, president of the Davie County Economic Development Commission, said he’s thrilled that the building, vacant for over two years has a new owner that is investing in our community.
“We are very fortunate to have a North Carolina family owned business come in to bring this plant back to life,” he said. “House of Raeford Farms has a long history in North Carolina of being an excellent corporate citizen. They are one of the reasons that agriculture continues to be the number one industry in North Carolina.”
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