- Associated Press - Friday, October 10, 2014

RAEFORD, N.C. (AP) - The House of Raeford announced Friday that it is closing its turkey cook plant in Raeford within two months, putting 400 people out of work.

Multiple media outlets report the Rose Hill-based company notified workers of the plant closing. The plant cooks turkeys to package and sell in grocery stores.

According to the company, the decision will not affect the remaining 5,300 House of Raeford workers, of which approximately 1,800 are employed in North Carolina.

A company statement says the high cost of raw materials for cooked turkey products has risen by 250 percent in the past year, making for prices that the company’s customers can’t absorb.

House of Raeford closed a Hoke County turkey plant in July 2013, eliminating about 1,060 people. It also planned to close a turkey hatchery in Rose Hill, ending a relationship with about 140 turkey farmers in eastern North Carolina.

The company has said previously it will focus on chicken products.

“We’re experiencing significant growth in chicken production and further processing.” said Bob Johnson, House of Raeford President and CEO. “We believe … chicken production is our core competency and deserves 100 percent of our attention and resources.”

Since announcing its plans in March 2013, House of Raeford has expanded its chicken processing operations. It bought a plant in Mocksville last April which produces fully-cooked chicken products with plans to eventually employ 400 people. The second plant came with the acquisition of Atlanta-based Filet of Chicken.

House of Raeford Farms is family-owned and operated and also has plants in Georgia, Louisiana and South Carolina.

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