Maxwell Foods shutting down hog operation

The company will shutter its 54,000-sow operation in phases over the next year.

Maxwell Foods, Goldsboro, North Carolina, says it will permanently close its hog operations in 2021. The company ranked #22 on the Pork Powerhouses report in 2019, with 54,000 sows.

“The continuing low prices paid for our product, together with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, make the current and projected financial losses unsustainable for the company to continue operating,” said Maxwell Foods in a statement. “The Maxwell family recognizes the enormity of this decision and it was with great difficulty that it was made.”

The company, which has been in the hog business for about 31 years, will be shuttering operations in a phased approach, ending in mid-2021. Current grower contracts will be honored, said the company. Maxwell has about 150 contract farms in its system.

In late 2019, Maxwell sold 30,000 sows in North Carolina and 15,000 sows in Indiana to Clemens Food Group, of Hatfield, Pennsylvania. Before that sale, Maxwell Foods had 99,000 sows.

The North Carolina Pork Council said in a statement, “We are deeply saddened that the persistent and untenable economic conditions mean that Maxwell Foods has reached the difficult decision to cease hog production operations by the middle of 2021. Maxwell Foods and its network of family farmers have been an important and vital part of eastern North Carolina communities and their economic stability.”

The council said it was optimistic that the phased transition process will allow for employees to find other opportunities in livestock agriculture and contract farms to find sustainable options.

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