LAURINBURG — Scotland County officials have announced that Mountaire Farms will launch a feed mill operation that will bring 65 “good-paying jobs” to the area.
The integrated poultry processing company plans to invest nearly $44 million at the county’s certified industrial site near the Laurinburg-Maxton Airport over the next three years.
“We are delighted that Mountaire has decided to increase their footprint in Scotland County and this highlights their belief in our community,” said Carol McCall, chair of the Scotland Board of Commissioners. “Scotland County and our partners worked as one and showed Mountaire we want to be a partner in their business and want them to be partners in our community.
”Bob Davis, who chairs the Scotland County Economic Development Corporation said the announcement demonstrates that the county has the resources to attract major employers.
“It’s exciting to be a part of the process that allows 65 citizens of Scotland County an opportunity for employment,” Davis said.
The operation will employ machine operators, maintenance specialists, drivers, and management personnel. Wages will vary by position, but the average compensation for the new positions will be $51,408 per year, officials with the state Department of Commerce. Scotland County’s average annual wage is about $34,037.
“These new, good-paying jobs mean better opportunities for hard-working people and their communities in Scotland County,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement. “Agriculture has a long and proud history in North Carolina and Mountaire Farms’ new state-of-the-art operations are a sign that the agriculture industry has a bright future here.”
Paul Downes, Mountaire’s President and CEO, called the Scotland site an “ideal place for Mountaire Farms to grow.”
“We are very encouraged by the support we have received from the State of North Carolina, Scotland County, Scotland Economic Development Corporation, Laurinburg Maxton Airport Commission, the local community, and others<’ Downes said in a statement. “This is a fantastic project and we look forward to getting started.”
Founded in 1914, Mountaire Farms is a fully integrated producer of branded and private-label chicken for U.S. and international consumer markets. The Delaware-based company has production operations in four states. In North Carolina, Mountaire Farms employs nearly 2,700 people across seven locations.
The Mountaire Farms Feed Mill project will also provide growth opportunities for local chicken producers and grain suppliers, officials said. Mountaire is a major purchaser of commodity grains including corn, soybeans, wheat, and barley.
The expansion in North Carolina was made possible in part by a performance-based grant of up to $200,000 from the One North Carolina Fund. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance in support of local governments in creating jobs and attracting economic investment. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for grant funds. All One NC grants require a local government match. “We welcome Mountaire Farms and the job opportunities it brings Scotland County,” said state Sen. Tom McInnis. “This significant investment will create noticeable economic benefits for the people of our community.” State Rep. Garland Pierce of Wagram agreed. “Congratulations to Mountaire Farms on the success that is driving this new agribusiness facility,” Pierce said. “I commend all our economic development partners for their hard work in bringing these 65 new jobs to Scotland County.” Mark Ward, Scotland County economic development director, said several partners — CSX, Economic Development Partnership of N.C., Laurinburg-Maxton Airport Commission and North Carolina Southeast Partnership — assisted in the recruitment of Mountaire. Other key partners in the project include the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the North Carolina Community College System. “The selection of the site at Laurinburg Maxton Airport by Mountaire is the culmination of many hours of hard work by several organizations coming together for the betterment of our community,” Ward said. “It was a collaboration of efforts from all parties and I am very thankful that I have their support.”