Braswell Family Farms
I recently had a chance to tour the facilities at Braswell Family Farms, located in Nashville, NC. Heading into their 75th year of production, this fourth-generation family-owned company is the 2nd largest Eggland’s Best franchise and the leading producer of private label specialty eggs. I had no idea that such a big producer of eggs was right here in my home state. What I found when I visited was so much more than just chicken farms. It was a group of people, a family really, that takes pride in keeping traditions alive and producing quality eggs and grains for farmers all across the Southeast.
Braswell Family Farms has over 2.9 million chickens, and they produce a staggering 51 million eggs a year. A year. That fact alone blew my mind… that a seemingly sleepy town in North Carolina is such a heavy hitter in the industry. I feel that is something that people don’t realize. Our farming industry here is wonderful for our state, and we in turn end up providing so much for people across the United States.
While visiting their facility, I was able to get a tour of their Mill, which was really the most impressive part of their day-to-day activities. Braswell Family Farms produces over 200,000 tons of feed a year, and over 800 different mixes. 600 of those are just for their own chickens. Jackie, who runs the Mill at Braswell, stressed the importance of different feeds for different situations. For example, a chicken in winter would get a different mix in summer, and an older chicken isn’t going to get the same feed as a pullet. The facility also produces organic and non-organic blends, and takes pride in making sure the organic feed is kept completely separate. Each ingredient is completely isolated in storage, so that no cross contamination occurs, and systems are completely flushed out in-between organic and non-organic feed compilations.
All of the systems inside the mill are automated, and the sheer amount of computer technology and orders going in and out of the mill every day is staggering. The great part of getting a tour was to really see the local aspect incorporated in the day-to-day operations. Farmers were dropping off soybean and corn, and then others were picking up feed for their own farms. It was a well-oiled machine, and I had no idea there was that much behind mixing feed.
The mill is steeped in tradition, dating back to the Boddie Mill, built in 1834. The mill is just a short car ride away from today’s facility, and the Braswell family purchased it in 1934. While no longer functional, it is a big part of the culture of the community, and a likeness can even be found in the Braswell Family Farms logo.
So, chances are at some point if you eat or cook with eggs, or consume local NC meat products, you’ve interacted with Braswell Family Farms. And that’s important to realize that locally, farms like Braswell help to support our community and farm culture, and we in turn should remember to continue to support local NC businesses, large or small, to keep that community going.
Some photos courtesy of Chair8.