CEOs: Culture, location key to Georgia egg farm acquisition
The co-CEOs of North Manchester-based MPS Egg Farms say several factors went into the decision to acquire the company’s first operation in the southeast United States. MPS on Tuesday announced its purchase of Country Charm Eggs in Georgia, which produces about 600 million eggs annually.
Sam and Dan Krouse said they had identified the region as one primed for growth, and Country Charm being a family-owned company like MPS made it very attractive for acquisition.
“They were founded in the 1980s by Vince Booker and the Booker family,” Sam Krouse said. “It’s another company with really great family values just like ours, dedication to the employees they have, to delivering superior quality to their customers, to serving their customers exceptionally well. So it’s very similar in a lot of ways to the way we like to do business at MPS and was a very clear cultural fit for us.”
Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed. MPS said Country Charm’s 140 employees will bring its total headcount to about 750 across its locations in Indiana, Illinois, Texas and now, Georgia.
“[They have] a lot of excellent team members who have a lot of good experience in various areas of egg farming that we looking forward to bringing to MPS,” said Krouse.
When the deal was first announced, Krouse said the company has been intentional about strategic growth.
“The southeast was attractive because of the growing population here,” he said. “Florida is growing pretty significantly. The eastern seaboard is growing pretty significantly. So, in terms of just population numbers, it’s a good area. There are also a number of very high quality grocery stores, which are our main customers in the region, that are attractive for us to have a location near.”
But MPS is not stopping there. Krouse said they have identified other areas for potential future growth as well, namely the western part of the country.
“There’s a lot of volatility there with different states enacting 100% cage free laws. States like California have actually already gone; other states like Arizona and Colorado kind of have intermediate steps, working their way towards 100% cage free. So, as those states continue to shift and evolve, there’s been a lot of activity out there.”
MPS Egg Farms has nearly 14 million egg-laying hens across its footprint with the acquisition of Country Charm. Dan Krouse said the majority of the operations center around conventional egg production with about 25% being cage free eggs.
The company has recently begun carbon-neutral, cage-free egg operation in partnership with Kipster Farms in the Netherlands to produce the first carbon-neutral eggs in the U.S. consumer market for The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) and its Simple Truth brand.
MPS has four carbon-free facilities using the Kipster model that Sam Krouse said uses elements that are new to the U.S.
“For instance, our air scrubbers that clean the external the air going out of the houses, that’s a system that’s not used anywhere in the United States in any type of agriculture, where it is pretty significantly used in Europe. So, it’s kind of a planting our flag as innovators, I think, in all of agriculture.”
Our partners at the IBJ spotlighted MPS’ carbon-neutral operation earlier this month, which can be found by clicking here.