June 15, 2016
House of Raeford Farms, a North Carolina-based chicken processor that has facilities in the Carolinas, Georgia and Louisiana, celebrated the grand opening of its chicken hatchery in Monetta with a ribbon cutting Wednesday.
House of Raeford is a family-owned company that provides ready-to-cook and further processed chicken products for the food service, retail and export markets, according to a company news release.
David Rush, assistant complex manager at House of Raeford, said the Monetta facility is away from the “hustle and bustle” of some of the largest cities in South Carolina but its product will impact towns and counties throughout the western Midlands.
The company currently works with more than 85 contract growers to produce more than 40 million chickens a year, its release states. The new facility is expected to produce more than 1 million birds per week and officially opens on June 22.
Will Williams, president and CEO of the Economic Development Partnership in Aiken, Edgefield and Saluda counties, said the House of Raefords’s $16 million investment to construct and operate what has been called a state-of-the-art facility, will provide the county with more than $200,000 in new property tax revenue the first year of operation, and nearly $3 million in revenue for the county over a 20-year period.
“That’s certainly going to help the county in the long run,” Williams told the Aiken Standard on Wednesday. “This is a great opportunity for Aiken County to support agribusiness … and we have a very strong agricultural base in Aiken County.”
Aiken County Council Chairman Ronnie Young called the new facility a “great addition” to Aiken County and said he hopes it will be a catalyst for future industries like it to come to the County.
Those who attended Wednesday’s event took a tour of the hatchery. Among other things, the company says the new 63,000-square-foot facility features advanced technology for production efficiency.
The company has collaborated with Nature Form, suppliers of incubation equipment, and Pas Reform, which, according to its website, specializes in the development of “innovative hatchery technologies” for the facility.
House of Raeford President and CEO Bob Johnson said Wednesday as he stood at the new site, he couldn’t help but think about his father, who he said in the 1940s, went to Sears & Roebuck and bought an incubator and hatched turkey eggs.
Johnson said his father grew them in his mother’s backyard, took them to New York and sold them on the live market.
“We go from a Sears & Roebuck incubator to now we’re here dedicating this building,” he said.
The poultry industry is a large part of agribusiness in South Carolina.