LAUREL, MISS. – Wayne Farms LLC reached an agreement to sell the company’s Laurel, Miss., poultry production complex to Batesburg, SC-based Amick Farms, which is a subsidiary of OSI Group. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Amick Farms agreed to acquire the complex immediately, including live production, hatchery, feed mill, manufacturing and production facilities located in Laurel. The companies expect the transaction to close on Oct. 17. Amick Farms is a leading producer of fresh and further processed poultry products.

Ben Harrison, president of Amick Farms, said the acquisition gives the company the opportunity and resources to grow with their customer base and develop new customer partners, provide more quality products and continue providing customer service excellence.

“We are excited to welcome the team members and growers in Laurel and surrounding communities to our family,” Harrison said. “Growing our business is an ongoing goal of ours, and this transaction was the perfect opportunity to grow our Amick team.”

Amick Farms currently operates two other vertically integrated facilities in South Carolina and Maryland, employing approximately 3,000 people.

Wayne Farms upgraded the Laurel facility in 2020 at a cost of roughly $16.9 million. Upgrades included installation of automated equipment on its processing line. Other enhancements were in cutting, deboning, portioning and packaging operations as well as new X-ray detection technology. 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. Wayne Farms operates 11 plants with approximately 10,000 employees.

“We’ve had a very long and positive relationship with the Laurel community, and we’re glad we’ve been able to reach an agreement with a solid operator like Amick Farms who will continue that community partnership,” said Clint Rivers, president and chief executive officer of Wayne Farms. “While the decision to sell the Laurel facility was not easy for Wayne Farms, this is an important step in completing our proposed transaction with Sanderson Farms. We are thankful for Amick Farms’ commitment to the Laurel workers and the community, and we’re grateful to know that the plant will continue to operate and thrive under their ownership.”

The deal comes after Continental Grain Co., and Cargill formed a joint venture 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. That transaction is expected to close by the end of 2021 or early 2022.

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