The roots of Braswell Milling Company go back to the middle of 19th century. The Boddie Mill, a water-powered grist mill built in 1854, was purchased by brothers J.M. and E.G. Braswell in 1942. The facility had supplied the needs of local farmers and businesses in Nash County, N.C. In 1956, Ronald and Gene Braswell, sons of the co-founder, E.G. Braswell entered the company after completing their military service. Presently, Ronald’s son Scott Braswell serves as the president with his son Trey, a North Carolina State graduate, as the executive vice president.
In 1969, the first stage of a modern feed mill was erected to supply their rapidly growing pullet business covering a three-state area. Concurrently partnerships, contractor and company facilities were established to produce eggs marketed from the shore to the Triangle region. The current feed mill located on a rail siding at the edge of Nashville represents consecutive stages of planned expansion. The facility now produces up to 200,000 tons of mash feed annually for egg production, organic broilers and hogs. Capacity through the 5-ton per hour ribbon mixer is 50 tons per hour with the plant operating five days a week from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.
The mill has organic certification with approximately 15% of total output as organic feeds. This requires separate storage and handling of ingredients and precise identification and traceability through the entire production process. Organic certification requires special procedures and restrictions on pest control with an emphasis on hygiene. In addition to feeding over 2 million hens for affiliated Braswell companies, almost a third of output comprises toll-milled feeds for swine and poultry producers in the state.
Diversity of diets for various species requires a sophisticated inventory control system with storage of bagged ingredients on racks with appropriate identification and rotation. It is possible to maintain high throughput by careful scheduling with control provided by a Repete computerized batching system which was recently upgraded. There are 16 load-out bins each with a capacity of up to 32 tons to accommodate a range of products.
Braswell Foods operates company-owned egg farms in Nash County, N.C., and Amelia County, Va. In addition, the company packs eggs supplied by contractors, partners and corporate egg producers. Eggs are packed in two combination in- and off-line plants in North Carolina and Virginia respectively. Braswell Milling Company supplies the affiliate companies, which are responsible for growing pullets for internal use and sale. The Braswell family is the second largest producer of Eggland’s Best Brand eggs, supplying conventional, cage-free and organic products which are distributed both within their franchisee area and to other franchisees.
A significant strength of the company lies in the training and commitment of managers, supervisors and workers numbering over 150 employees. Five associates each have over 30 years of service with two long termers having completed over 40 years in the employment of the company.
Based on the extensive range of activities, Braswell Milling has introduced a high standard of biosecurity. For many years they have operated a vehicle spray wash for delivery trailers and the trucks used by service people. Cleanliness and attention to detail are deeply ingrained in the culture of the company. Floors are epoxy painted, dust is extracted by a cyclone and all work and storage areas are maintained at a standard corresponding as closely as possible to a food plant. The quality assurance program conforms to the requirements of Eggland’s Best rigid standards and the company will soon attain AFIA Safe Feed-Safe Food Certification.
The mill has a wide range of suppliers and brokers and all purchases of both organic and conventional ingredients are based on evaluating composition and cost. When possible, ingredients are purchased from farmers in the vicinity, supporting the economy of the county and adjoining areas. Feeds are formulated internally using a commercial software package. Braswell Milling uses consultants to establish specifications for nutrients given its specific housing and the climatic conditions which prevail in the area of operation.
Braswell Milling has recently invested in a FOSS InfraXact 7500 instrument, which can complete both proximate and critical amino acid assays of ingredients and feeds within one minute. Results are used to fine-tune diets to ensure compliance with tabular matrix values for ingredients and dietary specification for finished feed. As required, ingredients and feed are submitted to reference laboratories for validation of in-company assays and for specific determinations including mycotoxins.
The company is committed to environmental stewardship and has attained ISO 14001 certification for both the feed mill and production facilities. Following family traditions, Braswell Milling has a commitment to civic responsibility. The company, which bears the name of the founding family, has sponsored the local Relay for Life event and regularly donates to organizations both within the community and groups performing mission work in developing countries.