Walmart hosted a grand opening of its new meat processing facility in Thomasville, Georgia, on Friday as the world’s largest retailer enters the beef business.
The 200,000-square-foot processing facility will employ 350 people and is part of Walmart’s $90 million commitment to supply Black Angus beef to 500 retail stores in the southeast.
In April, 2019, Walmart announced it was partnering with 44 Farms, a Cameron, Texas-based Angus seedstock operation, to create its branded beef program. 44 Farms sources Angus calves from ranchers who use its Angus Strong genetics and send them to Mc6 Cattle Feeders in Hereford, Tex., for finishing.
The finished cattle will be slaughtered at Creekstone Farms, Arkansas City, Kan., which has its own line of branded beef. From there the beef will go to the new Georgia facility to be packaged and further processed for Walmart’s branded program. Walmart says the product line will create a total of 450 new jobs in Kansas and Georgia.
Bob McClaren, 44 Farms
“No bigger paradigm change has taken place in the beef industry than what is happening with Walmart bringing truly high-quality, all-natural, no-hormones-added Black Angus beef to its customers,” Bob McClaren, 44 Farms owner said in a release. “This bold vision gives Walmart a special place at the table by contributing to the most enjoyable and memorable moments in the lives of its customers. It’s been four generations since we began, yet the traditional values of the McClaren family and 44 Farms are as relevant today as they were more than a century ago.”
44 Farms manages two feeder-calf programs: the NeverEver3 (NE3) feeder calf program and the new Prime Pursuits feeder-calf program for Walmart. Cattle for the Walmart program receive no hormones, are predominantly “Angus Strong” genetics, able to meet USDA’s definition of Angus, weaned for a minimum of 45 days, have no more than 90 days between the youngest to oldest in a group, and subject to minimal sort by a 44 Farms representative to ensure uniformity.
“Walmart has listened to its hard-working customers and taken on the monumental task of providing steakhouse quality, natural Black Angus beef to their local stores. This bold vision will not only elevate backyard barbeques and family dinner tables across the country, but transform the entire supply chain,” said Hank McWhorter of Mc6 Cattle Feeders.
“Mc6 Cattle Feeders is honored to help make this vision a reality. Mc6 is a family business that has been feeding and raising cattle on the same land in the Texas panhandle for four generations.”
Creekstone President and CEO Satoru Oura noted “Creekstone welcomes the opportunity to partner with industry leaders in providing premium quality Black Angus beef to Walmart customers while, at the same time, growing the number of jobs at our state of the art facility.”
In a statement issued when the program was announced, Scott Neal, Walmart Senior VP Meat, said: "Beef is an important purchase for our customer… it’s likely the most expensive item on their plate, and they are treating themselves when they buy it. Creating this supply chain allows us to treat our customers by giving them unprecedented quality and transparency.
"Our customers can trust that what they pick up from our meat department will be among the best – and most delicious – meat they can get. Having visibility to the end-to-end process lets us know we are helping our customers bring a consistently great piece of meat to their table every time they buy with us.
"We’re proud this supply chain program will help with job creation, and we’re proud to work alongside companies with a strong history in the industry. Together, our beef program can truly change the dynamics of the beef industry."
Each week, over 275 million customers and members visit Walmart’s more than 11,300 stores under 58 banners in 27 countries and eCommerce websites. With fiscal year 2019 revenue of $514.4 billion, Walmart employs over 2.2 million associates worldwide.