LAURINBURG —Scotland residents do not have a lock on 65 high-paying positions that will be offered by Mountaire Farms’ new feed mill, but recent training efforts could give locals an edge.
Mountaire Farms announced in January it would be launching a feed mill operation that will bring jobs with some salaries of about 51,000 a year. Scotland County’s average annual income is around $34,037.
“All of the positions could be created from the local workforce,” said Mark Ward, Scotland County Economic Development Corporation director. “There is no one coming from corporate for a hired position, so they are all new positions and hired positions, which will need to be filled.”
The company is mainly looking for truck drivers, a job that Richmond Community College can provide training for.
“The bulk of the positions are trucker/trailer drivers and there is a program at RCC that is created last year for trucker/trailer driving training school.”
The feed mill plant will also be looking to hire industrial maintenance workers who could hired at RCC as well. The plant will also need manual laborers, mechanics, an accountant, supervisors and a plant manager.
“RCC will be heavily involved with Mountaire once the plant is under construction, to hopefully set up a class in Scotland County or in Richmond county, depending on how quickly they can get it done to help fill those positions,” Ward said. “All of the positions are similar to ones we have had people doing in our county.”
The new jobs will be created over the next three years at a site near the Laurinburg-Maxton Airport where Mountaire will invest nearly $44 million.
The Mountaire Farms Feed Mill project will also expected to provide growth opportunities for local chicken producers and grain suppliers.
Mountaire Farms’ 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 believe North Carolina is the ideal place for Mountaire Farms to grow,” said Paul Downes, Mountaire’s president and CEO. 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. This is a fantastic project and we look forward to getting started.”
County officials have not disclosed what incentives that Scotland has offered to the integrated poultry processing company.
“That will probably be discussed in the next month or two with negotiations, ” Ward said. “Mountaire has already committed to come — they are coming regardless, but any other incentives by the county will have to be approved by the county commissioners before being disclosed.”
Founded in 1914, Mountaire Farms is a 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.