Cal-Maine Foods announced it has reached an agreement to acquire a processing plant previously operated by Tyson Foods in Dexter, Missouri. The egg giant said in a statement it will convert the plant into an egg grading facility. The plant has the potential for other capabilities such as hard-cooked egg production, Cal-Maine said.
The plants were closed in 2023 by Tyson and served as a broiler chicken processor, hatchery and feed mill. According to Cal-Maine, it anticipates entering agreements with some farmers that were previously contracted with Tyson to serve its cage-free, free-range or pasture-raised egg production needs.
Sherman Miller, Cal-Maine’s president and CEO, said that the acquisition furthers its aim of expanding its egg operations.
“The Dexter location offers an important opportunity to expand our geographic footprint and enhance our ability to serve our valued customers with added production and distribution capabilities in Missouri and surrounding markets,” Miller said in a statement.
The egg grading process typically involves washing, sorting and packing eggs before they are sent to retail locations. The USDA shell egg grading system gives the freshest eggs a Grade AA rating while very high-quality eggs are Grade A.
Cal-Maine is the largest egg producer in the U.S., and the investment has the potential to help it expand its presence in the space as it deals with supply issues and a virus sweeping the egg industry.
The company financially benefited from high egg prices in the U.S. caused by highly pathogenic avian influenza in early 2023. Last month, Cal-Maine reported one of its facilities in Kansas tested positive for avian influenza, affecting 684,000 laying hens, which represents 1.6% of its total flocks. In the last 30 days, 44 commercial flocks across the U.S. were impacted by the virus, according to the most recent USDA data.