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September 8, 2020

Wells, Jenkins & Wells Makes the Cut

Forest City, NC – Rutherford County Economic Development is pleased to announce that Wells, Jenkins & Wells, headquartered in Rutherford County, NC, has been awarded the Increasing Meat Processing Efficiency and Capacity Grant from NCDA&CS. This funding will be used to expand their operations in Forest City, NC. This grant was created by the NC General Assembly in order to address critical meat processing capacity shortages that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of the grant is to increase the overall throughput capacity of meat processing plants in North Carolina and strengthen the meat supply chain, to ensure an uninterrupted supply of wholesome meat products for consumers.      

Wells, Jenkins, & Wells (WJW) is a Forest City-based, full-service abattoir that currently contracts with over 1,040 independently-owned farms to process large livestock from hoof to freezer. WJW offers USDA inspected slaughter, fabrication, and custom cutting and packaging for beef, pork, lamb, and goat. They are committed to working with small-scale, local meat producers who direct market meats. WJW works with independent farmers who produce and market natural, local, and niche meats. 

The grant funding will be used for a processing facility expansion that will enable WJW to more than double the number of animals processed weekly. Several farmers wrote letters of support to advocate for this project’s funding, as the increased capacity will impact many local farmers’ businesses directly. Currently there is a significant waiting list for farmers to get their animals processed, with wait times as long as four to six months. The facility expansion will help to alleviate this pressure. 

Jeff Wells, the company’s owner, is eager to get the project underway. The proposed facility expansion has been in the works for over a year, but due to the intense demands on the business over the last several months, they have not had the ability to execute that plan. The grant funding from the state will allow WJW to move forward with a $2.5M robust and streamlined expansion without a disruption in operations and is expected to create 15 new jobs. 

Rutherford County Economic Development staff is pleased to be able to assist a local existing industry secure funding for an expansion and is eager to see an overall increase in agricultural economic development activity throughout the county.