Sanderson Farms has signed an agreement to process chickens grown by House of Raeford Farms at Sanderson Farms’ new poultry plant in St. Pauls, North Carolina.

House of Raeford Farms, which operates poultry grow-out operations and processing facilities in four Southeastern states, lost its plant in Teachey, North Carolina, in late February in a fire. Since that time, Sanderson Farms had been assisting House of Raeford on an interim basis, but the two companies have now reached a longer-term processing agreement.

Under the new agreement, Sanderson Farms will purchase, process and sell chickens grown by House of Raeford Farms through mid-December. Sanderson Farms may elect, under the terms of the agreement, to process chickens on a fee basis rather than purchasing them, Sanderson Farms stated in a press release.

Sanderson Farms estimates that the agreement will result in an additional 20.4 million pounds of production in the third quarter of fiscal year 2017, 26.3 million pounds in the fourth quarter and 12.4 million pounds during the first quarter of fiscal year 2018.

The St. Pauls plant is Sanderson Farms’ newest processing facility. The 180,000-square foot plant began processing in January. When fully operational, it is expected to process 1.25 million birds per week and sell about 500 million pounds of dressed poultry meat annually.

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement with our North Carolina neighbors, House of Raeford Farms, while they rebuild their Teaching processing facility following the devastating fire. We believe this processing agreement will be beneficial to Sanderson Farms,” Joe F. Sanderson Jr., chairman and CEO of Sanderson Farms, stated in the press release. “Our St. Pauls facility just commenced production in January, and our new managers and employees will gain valuable training and processing experience with this accelerated production schedule.”

Mountaire Farms also helping House of Raeford

In addition to receiving processing assistance from Sanderson Farms, House of Raeford Farms has also been working with Mountaire Farms on a more informal basis.

Mountaire’s plant in Lumber Bridge, North Carolina, has helped House of Raeford meet the immediate demand of processing chickens.

In addition, House of Raeford’s own processing plant in Rose Hill, North Carolina, has added production hours each week to meet the processing demand.

House of Raeford further stated that it continues to look at additional options to sustain its live production and processing goals in the Teachey area.

House of Raeford is rebuilding plant

House of Raeford Farms promised its employees it would rebuild the Teachey plant, with demolition of the facility beginning on April 3.

Exact details on when the actual rebuilding of the plant have not been revealed. A company spokesman recently stated the rebuilt plant will be very close to where the original plant was situated, “if not exactly on the same footprint.”