Agri-Industry & Food Processing

Southeastern North Carolina has more than 20,000 people employed with food processing companies. Examples of products processed and/or grown in the region include pork, poultry, sauces, food/drink ingredients, sweet potato products, peanuts, soybean oil, grapes, tobacco, and blueberries. North Carolina’s Southeast region, long known for its productive land and innovative agricultural companies, has several of the top farm income producing counties in the nation. Wineries and vineyards are also a growth sector in the region due to the area’s fertile loamy soils that are ideal for grapes. Thanks to an excellent transportation infrastructure that includes the Port of Wilmington and multiple interstate highways, North Carolina exports more than $2 billion of agricultural products annually. North Carolina ranks first in the nation for production of sweet potatoes and tobacco, and second in the nation for Christmas trees, hogs, and turkeys.

Projected growth for Agri-Industry & Food Processing in the region

  • Horticultural Crops Research Stations (Castle Hayne and Clinton) – 66 acres and 349 acres respectively, the Castle Hayne research station is a world leader in blueberry breeding programs.
  • NC Cooperative Extension NC State University and NC A&T State University support agricultural extension services in every county of the Region.  The agricultural specialists in these offices answer questions, assist with in-field research, and provide educational programs and research-based information to both the agricultural community and the general public.
  • Charlie Rose Agri-Expo Center - A multi-use facility in Cumberland County, the Center serves as an office building, exhibition hall, and meeting complex.
  • NC State University - has 19 different departments in its College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and other related areas that focus on various specialties within the agricultural fields.
  • Mid-Atlantic location gives access to 170 Million US and Canadian residence in a one-day drive time.
  • Workforce that is 10% more productive than the national average.
  • The lowest unionization rates in the country (3.1%).
  • 2 deep water ports in NC and within 200 miles of the highest volume ports on the east coast (Norfolk, VA and Charleston, SC)
  • Free customizable training programs through NC’s Community College system at any of our eight Community Colleges.
  • Foreign Trade Zone at the Port of Wilmington.
  • Highly competitive incentives and financial assistance.
  • Population growth at nearly twice the national average.
  • Quality of life that attracts and retains talent with a cost of living that is lower than the national average.
Company Name Product County
Birdsong Peanuts Peanut production Bladen
Houston's Peanuts Peanut production Bladen
Bomar Distributors Wholesale snacks Bladen
Sue Bee Honey Honey production Bladen
Smithfield Foods Pork production Bladen & Sampson
Seacoast Land & Timber Timber management and harvesting Brunswick
Nice Blends Sweet potato french fries Columbus
Top Tobacco Cigarette manufacturing Columbus
Tortamex Tortilla manufacturing Columbus
Wayne E. Bailey Produce Sweet potatoes Columbus & Sampson
Cargill Soybean processing Cumberland
Morty Pride Meats Meat processing Cumberland
House of Raeford Turkey processing Hoke
Butterball Turkey production Hoke & Sampson
American Skin LLC Pork rinds and cracklins Pender
Perdue Chicken Chicken processing Richmond
Campbell Soup Co Food processing Robeson
Mountaire Farms of NC Poultry production Robeson
Steven Roberts Original Desserts Bakery Robeson
Prestage Foods Turkey production Robeson & Sampson
Allen Canning Co Canned and frozen food products Sampson
Earth's Best Burch Farms Organic vegetable farm Sampson
Murphy-Brown Farms Hog farming Sampson
Black River Farms General crop farm Sampson