The Cal-Maine Foods Board of Directors approved a $40.1 million capital project to expand the company’s cage-free egg production at its Guthrie, Kentucky, production facility.
The project will include related site work and the additional infrastructure to convert existing conventional capacity to house approximately 1.5 million cage-free hens and 300,000 pullets. Construction will commence immediately, with initial conversions expected in early 2021. The first pullet placements are planned to be made by summer 2021 and the first layer house is expected to be finished by fall 2021. Project completion is expected by late 2022.
The company plans to fund the project through a combination of available cash on hand, investments, and operating cash flow.
Commenting on the announcement, Dolph Baker, chairman and chief executive officer of Cal-Maine Foods, stated: “This latest expansion supports our continued efforts to position Cal-Maine Foods as an industry leader in meeting future customer goals for cage-free eggs. The Guthrie location is strategically located close to a large customer footprint, which will enable us to enhance our distribution of cage-free eggs for this important market region. Including this latest project, we have allocated approximately $462.5 million during the prior twelve years to facilities, equipment, and related operations to expand our cage-free production. Across the country, a growing number of states have passed minimum space and/or cage-free requirements with implementations ranging from January 2022 to January 2026. We believe adding this capacity in Cal-Maine Foods' facilities over the next two years will help drive our continued efforts to meet customers’ needs.”
Cal-Maine Foods is primarily engaged in the production, grading, packing and sale of fresh shell eggs, including conventional, cage-free, organic and nutritionally enhanced eggs. The company, which is headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi, is the largest producer and distributor of fresh shell eggs in the United States and in the world.