It was another whirlwind year of travel and plant visits for The National Provisioner’s editorial team — and wow, the stories we were fortunate to tell!
Simply put, the industry has been busy — and so have we, sticking closely to our mission to give our readers that unmatched, first-hand look into the operations of some of the most innovative and progressive processors in the business. This past year, we brought a wide variety of topics to our cover stories, from process innovation to animal-handling improvements to worker-safety success. All with you, the reader, top of mind.
Then, once again this summer, we offered our readers the chance to vote for our third-annual Plant of the Year award — featuring the list of processing plants visited by editors of The National Provisioner from June 2013 through May 2014.
More than 2,500 readers responded, and when the polls closed, Case Farms’ Goldsboro, N.C., processing plant had racked up 29 percent of the votes — enough to hold off a late push by a couple nominees — to win the 2014 Plant of the Year award.
The Goldsboro facility was profiled in our May 2014 issue, a story that focused on the company’s fantastic turnaround in worker safety, highlighted by the outstanding successes of the Goldsboro facility specifically. Our editorial team is always looking for great worker-safety initiatives and stories, and the Goldsboro facility lived up to its billing. As you can read about in the original story, the facility has been recognized several times by industry groups for its worker-safety programs. Furthermore, at presstime for this issue, The Joint Industry Safety and Health Council (consisting of members from U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, National Chicken Council and National Turkey Federation) had sent out the announcement of its 2014 awards honoring employee safety and health programs, and the Goldsboro further-processing plant and hatchery were recognized again.
Andy Hanacek, editor-in-chief of The National Provisioner, checked in with Case Farms and the Goldsboro team to congratulate them and get an update as to what has changed at the plant since his visit earlier this spring.
Brian Hanna, the Goldsboro plant manager, offered the following updates on the projects that have been completed and are under way now at the facility:
Q: When I visited, the team discussed a few investments that were on the docket (such as additional automation of cutting operations, renovation of box assembly, etc.). Can you give an update on the status of those projects?
Hanna: On the Fourth of July, we installed a new mechanical batching and bagging system in our marination department. The goal of this project was twofold. First, we wanted to reduce the bending over and pulling of bags by hand-packing. Second, we wanted to increase the amount of product that we can produce in an hour without putting any more pressure on our employees. The box room project is still moving forward. We have installed the new box machines and are looking at more automation to help with the ergonomic concerns.
Q: Are any other significant improvements/renovations in the works now since we last talked?
Hanna: We’re still looking at new cutting equipment, which hopefully will do the same [as the above installations]: Reduce ergonomic concerns and increase production, without increasing the work load on employees.