A 58-year staple in the Sampson County community has announced plans to suspend operation of its beef processing plant.
That word came earlier this week in a press release announcing that the Martin’s Abattoir & Wholesale Meats, Inc. operation would end, effective immediately.
The company, said Jeffrey Martin, director of operations for Martin’s plans to continue paying its employees for the next 60 days and will keep all the company benefits in place as well.
Martin attributed the closing on the current economic climate which, he said, had become increasingly difficult in the last 18 months, particularly in the slaughter industry.
Following a family discussion late last week, Martin said it was determined that it was simply time to close.
“The company would like to thank the many people in the community and cattle industry for their support over the last 58 years,” he said in a telephone interview Wednesday.
In the prepared release, it was noted that “the Martins are suspending their beef operations just as they started them: on their own terms, quietly, with dignity … no cries for government bailouts; no complaints.”
The Martin family has been in the cattle business as one of the seven major cattle processing facilities on this side of the Mississippi River since 1955.
The family centered business has employed over 175 people, some of which have been with the company in excess of 40 years.
Martin said the family will continue to move forward with their other companies and are deeply saddened with the closing of their oldest beef plant.
Sampson County Economic Developer John Swope, said he hated to hear of the closing, “be it it short or long term,” and that he realized it will have a significant impact on the employees and Sampson County.
Swope also said he stands ready to assist with any reopening of the company and is willing to assist employees with getting resources that benefit them, including working with the Employment Security Commission on their behalf.
“Martin’s Meats has been an important employer and industry in Sampson County for many years,” Swope said.