Seaboard Foods’ investment in Butterball yielded another loss in the first quarter of fiscal year 2021, but that loss was not as severe as the one it experienced during the first quarter of 2020.
In a Form 10-Q that can be found the Seaboard Corporation investor relations webpage, the company stated that it experienced a $5 million loss from affiliates for the most recent quarter, which ended on April 3. That compares to a $7 million loss for the period that ended on March 28, 2020.
“The decrease in loss from affiliates for the three-month period of 2021, compared to the same period in 2020, was primarily the result of lower interest costs, partially offset by higher feed and plant production costs,” Seaboard stated. “Sales volume increased, and to a lesser extent, prices, though the decrease in value-added product sales contributed to a weaker sales mix with lower margins.”
Seaboard offered very little in terms of forward-looking statements, other than stating, “The uncertainties and the volatility of the commodity grain markets could have a significant impact on profitability.”
Seaboard Foods, primarily known as a pork producer, owns about half of Butterball, with the remaining half owned by Goldboro Milling Co. According to the WATTPoultry.com Top Companies Database, Butterball, based in Garner, North Carolina, is the largest turkey producer in the United States, having slaughtered 1.26 billion pounds of live turkeys in 2020.
Within the past year, Butterball announced several major changes that will involve production and processing operations.
In December 2020, the company announced that it was scaling back some operations at its turkey processing plant in Carthage, Missouri, as it worked to balance production at the facility to better align with the products that consumers demand. About a month later, Butterball announced that it was investing a combined $8.7 million and would create 360 new jobs at its turkey processing facilities in Ozark, Arkansas, and Huntsville, Arkansas.
Butterball also recently promoted two longtime employees to upper management positions. Neal Walsh was appointed chief operating officer and Bill Folk was named vice president of operations.