GODWIN, NC - About 180 workers are looking for new jobs in their rural North Carolina community after a beef slaughterhouse and processing plant closed after nearly six decades of business.
Martin's Abattoir & Wholesale Meats operations director Jeffrey Martin says the company plans to keep paying employees for the next 60 days. Martin blamed the closing on increasingly tough economic conditions in the slaughter industry.
The company once ranked among the largest privately owned businesses based in North Carolina.A Midwest drought last year hurt the market and Martin said the lack of affordable cattle forced company's closure this week.
The U.S. Agriculture Department says the nearly 2 million cattle sold at market in August was down 4 percent from last year and was the second lowest since 1996.
Following a family discussion late last week, Martin said it was determined that it was simply time to close. "The company would like to thank the many people in the community and cattle industry for their support over the last 58 years," he said in a telephone interview Wednesday.
In the prepared release, it was noted that "the Martins are suspending their beef operations just as they started them: on their own terms, quietly, with dignity . no cries for government bailouts; no complaints.
"The Martin family has been in the cattle business as one of the seven major cattle processing facilities on this side of the Mississippi River since 1955. The family centered business has employed over 175 people, some of which have been with the company in excess of 40 years.
Martin said the family will continue to move forward with their other companies and are deeply saddened with the closing of their oldest beef plant.