Industry Overview


Southeastern North Carolina has more than 15,000 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. To learn more, download our Food Processing brochure.

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Competitive Advantages


Research Facilities and Industry Support

  • 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.
  • 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.

Workforce Training

General Advantages

  • Mid-Atlantic location gives access to 200 Million US and Canadian residence in a one-day drive time.
  • Workforce that is 10% more productive than the national average.
  • The second lowest unionization rates in the country (4.1%).
  • 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 214 at the Port of Wilmington and Foreign Trade Zone 93 inland.
  • 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.
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Who's Here

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, Lenoir, & Sampson
Seacoast Land & Timber Timber management and harvesting Brunswick
Top Tobacco Cigarette manufacturing Columbus
Wayne E. Bailey Produce Sweet potatoes Columbus & Sampson
Cargill Soybean processing Cumberland
Butterball Turkey production Hoke & Sampson
American Skin LLC Pork rinds and cracklins Pender
Campbell Soup Co Food processing Robeson & Cumberland
Mountaire Farms of NC Poultry production Robeson & Scotland
Steven Roberts Original Desserts Bakery Robeson
Prestage Foods Turkey production Robeson & Sampson
Earth's Best Burch Farms Organic vegetable farm Sampson
Murphy-Brown Farms Hog farming Sampson
Black River Farms General crop farm Sampson
Case Farms Poultry processing Wayne
Georgia Pacific Building products Wayne
Goldsboro Milling Company Turkey & pork production Wayne
Mount Olive Pickle Company Pickle production Wayne
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