Mountaire Farms Selects Scotland County for Nation’s Largest Grain Mill
Delaware-based Mountaire Farms, a fully integrated provider of branded and private-label chicken to U.S. and foreign consumers, announced in January its choice of Scotland County for a $44 million grain mill. The facility will be the largest of its kind in the U.S., employing 65 workers at annual wages averaging $51,408.
“This is a fantastic project and we look forward to getting started,” said Paul Downes, president and CEO of Mountaire Farms, which was founded in 1914 and has operations in four states.
The size and scope of the facility necessitated the inclusion of many local and state economic development partners, including the state departments of Commerce and Transportation, the NC Railroad Company and the Laurinburg Maxton Airport Commission. Nate Groover of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina collaborated with Southeastern Partnership and local officials in ushering “Project Eat” to fruition.
“There will be 200 trucks going in and out of the facility everyday -- more during harvest season,” says Mark Ward, director of the Scotland County Economic Development Corporation. New positions will include machine operators, maintenance specialists, truck drivers and management staff. The facility also will likely spur the expansion of farms in the region. “It’s going to be an economic development engine for about four or five counties around us,” Ward says.
Governor Roy Cooper officially released news of the win on January 24th in the first economic development announcement of his term. “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,” Cooper said.
Local incentives plus a $200,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund will help support Mountaire Farms’ success in Scotland County. In mid-February, the North Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority approved a $1.35 million Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) that will facilitate rail service to the company’s 600-acre site.
Carol McCall, chairman of the Scotland County Board of Commissioners, commended the team-oriented effort that brought Mountaire Farms to the county. “Scotland County and our partners worked as one and showed Mountaire we want to be a partner in their business and want them to be a partner in our community,” McCall said.