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. To learn more, download our Food Processing brochure.
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. Download the Agriculture and Agribusiness Economic Impact Report.
Projected growth for Agri-Industry & Food Processing in the region
Research Facilities and Industry Support
- NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Regional Facilites – the NCDA operates several research and other support facilities in the Southeast region.
- Border Belt Tobacco Research Station, (Whiteville) -- 102 acres research farm focused on genetic studies on corn, soybeans, tobacco, and peanuts.
- 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.
- Southeastern North Carolina Agricultural Center (Lumberton) – features a regional farmers market and multipurpose building.
- 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.
- Employment and Training - All five of the 4-year universities in the Region include agricultural principles in their biology, chemistry and biotechnology courses. And six of the Region’s community colleges offer programs that support the food processing sector:
- Southeastern Community College – Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration (ACHR)
- Robeson Community College – ACHR; Culinary Technology
- Cape Fear Community College – ACHR; Culinary Technology
- Bladen Community College – Applied Animal Science Technology (Swine)
- Sampson Community College – Horticulture Technology; Livestock & Poultry Technology
- Fayetteville Technical Community College – ACHR; Horticulture Technology / Management
- 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 (1.9%).
- 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.
|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|
|Wayne E. Bailey Produce||Sweet potatoes||Columbus & Sampson|
|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|