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Monday, December 15, 2014
Cooper: Perham purchase will help egg division diversify
Cooper Farms’ decision to team with Weaver Brothers to purchase the Perham Egg facility in Fort Recovery, Ohio, will be a good move for the company as it seeks to expand and diversify its egg division, Cooper Farms Chief Operating Officer Gary Cooper said on December 5.
The two companies jointly purchased Perham Egg, a new facility that was owned by North Central Equity LLC. With the purchase, the two companies have taken the initials from both businesses and formed a new joint venture company, CW Egg Products.
Cooper Farms growth in egg industry
Cooper Farms is best known for its farm-to-fork turkey operations, but it is also active in the egg, pork and feed businesses. And while Cooper Farms has been in the egg business for years, Cooper described its egg division as “somewhat of a sideline business for us.”
“We finally decided about a year ago that we either needed to get bigger and get more diversified in that business or actually get out of it,” said Cooper.
On August 8, Cooper Farms purchased Fort Recovery Equity, an egg layer and pullet operation also in Fort Recovery. With that purchase, Cooper Farms gained not only an inline egg processing operation, but also 42 contract growers and a feed mill.
But Cooper knew the company did not want to stop there.
“The main thing left that we saw was some form of liquid egg operation,” he said.
Cooper Farms visited with the management of Weaver Brothers and explored a couple of options, Cooper said. Then, when Perham Egg became available for acquisition, the two companies continued to hold talks, eventually reaching an agreement for a 50-50 purchase of Perham Egg.
“Jim Weaver at Weaver Brothers has a whole lot of knowledge of the egg business and its history, and we’re really excited to be able to work with him,” said Cooper.
Cooper Farms’ egg division to follow turkey division model
When Cooper Farms sought to grow its egg division, it also wanted to diversify it and add to its value-added product line. It is a business strategy that has served the Cooper Farms turkey division well.
Cooper Farms value-added products include sliced meats, turkey burgers, and turkey roasts, appealing to a wider variety of consumer choices. The company now seeks to do the same with eggs, as it aspires to offering a more diverse mix of value-added egg products.
“From that, we’ve learned the whole value-added process and how much that’s worth. That’s where we’re really headed with this,” said Cooper.