Chicken processor to close two NC plants

Posted July 29, 2011

— The Townsends Inc. chicken plants in Siler City and Mocksville are closing, leaving more than 500 employees out of work, Siler City Mayor Charles Johnson said Friday. 

Johnson said the rise in grain costs and fuel prices played a part in the decision to close both plants. He said the closing of the Siler City plant, the largest employer in town, will be devastating to the community.

The Siler City plant employs 550 workers, while the Mocksville plant has 130 workers. 

"It's very shocking and sad," Johnson said.

chickens Siler City losing 500 jobs

Johnson said the closures will especially affect chicken farmers in Chatham County and surrounding areas who work on a contract basis with Townsends. 

Siler City chicken farmer Charles Moore said 90 percent of his business comes from Townsend. He said the closure means he will probably only be able to keep his business afloat until the end of the year. 

"We're kind of bottom of the line, but we're trying to do our best," Moore said. 

The Siler City plant is expected to close by Oct. 1.

In May, the chicken processor announced plans to eliminate 145 jobs at the Siler City plant, 1101 E. Third St., during the first week of July.

Townsends Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December, saying it had more than $100 million in liabilities because of a combination of high feed costs and low prices for chicken. Omtron Ltd., an affiliate of Agroholding Avangard, Ukraine’s largest egg producer, bought Townsends' North Carolina plants, its headquarters in Delaware and other assets for $24.9 million.

Following the sale, Johnson said town leaders hoped Townsends would remain active. He said the plant meant tens of millions of dollars to the local economy. 

"This money is mostly spent in the Siler City area," Johnson said. 

WRAL News' calls to Omtron were not returned on Friday. 


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • barbstillkickin Aug 1, 2011

    Well Governor Purdue this sure is helping our state with unemployment. I hope you can keep your job at least to election time. It is terrible that this state has lost so much business since you have been in office. Maybe instead of taking a raise you should consider the people of this beautiful state and how many will leave. So sad cause such a nice state to live in. Got to go where the jobs are.

  • boneymaroney13 Jul 29, 2011

    Hey Bev!!! Tell your P/R people to try and spin this one!

  • casoucie Jul 29, 2011


  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman Jul 29, 2011

    wildcat - "We you see them, ask about the job situation in Siler City and Chatham County and you will see them walking away."

    It's like that in many NC Counties.

    Take a look at Harnett's unemployment rate.

  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman Jul 29, 2011

    gingerlynn - "This is what happens when you take the ingredients of chickenfeed (corn) and turn it into a high demand item for alternative fuels. Everyone wants biofuel alternatives and does not consider the affect on food supply or food price."

    Ohhh, it's been considered and has been studied in-depth at universities across the nation, which is why it's primarily been shelved except for USED bio-fuels, like dirty oil from restaurants.

  • RB aka Spirit Warrior Woman Jul 29, 2011

    Wonder if we'll see big brag PR from Bev about this, like we do when NC companies hire 39 or 99 people.


    Who's she think she's kidding.

    But seriously, praying for those who will be out of work. When you work in a place like that in a small town, and it closes down - your options for re-employment are often few.

  • gingerlynn Jul 29, 2011

    This is what happens when you take the ingredients of chickenfeed (corn) and turn it into a high demand item for alternative fuels. Everyone wants biofuel alternatives and does not consider the affect on food supply or food price.

  • wildcat Jul 29, 2011


  • wildcat Jul 29, 2011

    Praying that someone buys Townsends

    That will not happen. Midstate Poultry closed several years back and it sits empty right now. The company moved to Sanford because of issues with Siler City and the water issues. Siler City lost and Midstae Poultry then moved away.

  • word636 Jul 29, 2011

    oh yeah..I have a comment to make...the man who owns Omtron is a billonaire..a billonaire!! owned by Ukrainian businessman Oleg Bakhmatyuk.They purchased Townsends to try and unload contaminated corn to the USA...but that hasnt work out for they are have decided to fix the place up and sell it for a profit....They dont care about the jobs..the employees, the growers....all they care about is the dollar they are going to make..tarheel5

    the best example of common sense i've read on WRAL in a long time.At least someone knows where to point the finger for a change.