Michael Foods loses building, hens in fire

A fire broke out at a Michael Foods facility located two miles west of Bloomfield, Nebraska, causing damages estimated at more than $2.5 million.

Roy Graber Headshot
(Rob Wilson, Bigstock.com)
(Rob Wilson, Bigstock.com)

A fire broke out at a Michael Foods facility located two miles west of Bloomfield, Nebraska, causing damages estimated at more than $2.5 million.

According to a post on the Knox County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page, a 911 call was received at 5:15 p.m. on February 27, in which fire and rescue units from the communities of Bloomfield, Creighton, Lindy, Osmond, Plainview and Wausa responded. Additionally, tankers from Central Valley Ag assisted.

Post Holdings, the parent company of Michael Foods, issued a press release on the incident, stating that all employees were safely evacuated and no injuries were reported. The company also stated that the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Post Holdings estimated that the fire “impacted less than 5% of the layer population of Michael Foods’ internal and external network. While the company did not offer an estimate on how many birds were lost, a report from the Kearney Hub stated that one of the buildings was destroyed and about 400,000 hens were lost.

The management of Post Holdings, a publicly traded company, expects to be reimbursed under insurance policies, but advised shareholders that costs may be incurred in different reporting periods than any insurance recovery. Post Holdings’ fiscal year runs consistent with the calendar year, with the current quarter to conclude at the end of March.

Michael Foods, according to the WATTAgNet Top Poultry Companies Database, has a flock of 13.3 million hens, and is the sixth largest egg company in the United States. It ranks 10th among egg companies in the world.

In 2016, the Michael Foods announced that it would replace 32 layer barns with 12 cage-free houses at the Bloomfield farm.

Post Holdings acquired Michael Foods in 2014. Since that time, the company has grown through the acquisitions of Willamette Egg Farms in 2015 and National Pasteurized Eggs in 2016.

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