House of Raeford announced recently that it will phase out all operations at its Raeford, North Carolina turkey cook plant within the next 60 days. “Historically high protein commodity market values have driven raw material costs for cooked turkey products up over 250 percent in the last twelve months, resulting in unprecedented finished product prices that the company’s customers are not able to absorb for competitive reasons,” according to a House of Raeford press release. Production of further processed and fully cooked chicken products now being made in Raeford will be moved to other plants.

This move will allow the company to focus more resources on vertically integrated production of fresh, ready-to-cook, further processed and fully cooked chicken products, the press release said. The company embarked on a strategy to grow its chicken production volume and further processed chicken product lines over a year ago. “We’re experiencing significant growth in chicken production and further processing.” said Bob Johnson, president and CEO. “We believe vertically-integrated chicken production is our core competency and deserves 100 percent of our attention and resources.”

Since announcing this strategy in March of 2013, House of Raeford has expanded its chicken further processing operations by purchasing two plants. The first plant, located in Mocksville, North Carolina, opened in April of 2014 and produces fully-cooked chicken products with plans to eventually employ 400 people. The second plant came with the acquisition of Atlanta-based Filet of Chicken, a company that produces par-fried and IQF further processed products and employs 450.

House of Raeford said it has notified its 400 employees in the Raeford plant  of the pending closure.  The company indicated it will provide financial assistance for all associates affected by the plant closure who meet the minimum tenure requirement by providing severance packages. The company will also work with local and state officials in an early intervention plan that provides transitional help for these workers.