Maxwell Farms and Smithfield
Foods own Carolina
Turkeys, which has a processing plant near Mount Olive.
Gordon Maxwell, the president of Goldsboro Milling Co., the parent company of
Maxwell Farms, said that the acquisition will solidify the company's position in
Carolina Turkeys, which opened in 1986, produces about 250,000 tonnes of
processed turkey meat a year, Maxwell said.
Butterball produces about 295,000 tonnes a year.
Butterball operates five processing plants -- three in Arkansas, one in
Missouri and one in Colorado. Those operations will not change, Maxwell said.
Maxwell also said no major changes will occur in the companies' Wayne and
Duplin county operations, but he said some Butterball brand turkeys might be
packed at the Mount Olive plant and that some turkeys grown by area farmers
could end up sporting the Butterball brand.
The Carolina Turkeys plant, built in 1986 as a joint venture between
Goldsboro Milling Co. and Carrolls' Foods, employs about 2,400 people.
Smithfield Foods bought the Carroll's interest in 1999.
Butterball has been a leading name in turkey production for nearly half a
century. It is a division of ConAgra Foods, one of the largest packaged food companies in
The deal is part of Smithfield's buyout of ConAgra's refrigerated meats
business. Under the terms of the agreement, ConAgra will receive $475 million in
cash and $100 million in Smithfield Foods stock, according to ConAgra's Web
The overall deal includes the Butterball, Eckrich, Armour, LunchMakers,
Margherita, and Longmont brands.