OAKWOOD, GA. – Wayne Farms recently announced plans to sell its poultry processing facility in Laurel, Miss.

The news comes after August’s joint venture plan between Continental Grain Co., and Cargill to acquire poultry  processor Sanderson Farms for $4.5 billion. The venture will make Sanderson a part of Wayne Farms which is a subsidiary of Continental Grain. The deal is expected to close by the end of 2021 or early 2022.

“As a step towards completing this combination, we are in discussions to divest ownership of our Laurel facility with other well-known poultry companies, with the goal of maintaining the plant’s productivity and positive impact in the community,” said Clint Rivers, chief executive officer. “These discussions are not finalized, and we will provide an update if and when they are. In the meantime, our focus continues to be on delivering value for our customers, our people, and the communities we serve.”

Wayne Farms upgraded its Laurel facility in 2020. The company expected the project to cost $16.9 million and included implementing automated equipment on its processing line. Some of the enhancements were in cutting, deboning, portioning and packaging operations as well as new X-ray detection technology.

Information on the company website from 2019 said that Wayne Farms employs 291 workers at the plant and it works with 220 poultry growers. 

Wayne Farms reported sales of $2.2 billion in 2020 and operates 11 plants with approximately 10,000 employees. Besides the Laurel facility, Wayne Farms operates fresh processing plants in Albertville, Jack, Dothan, Union Springs and Decatur, Ala.; Danville, Ark.; Pendergrass, Ga., and Dobson, NC. It also operates two further processing plants in Decatur, Ala.