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House of Raeford Sows into Local Elementary Students

Students stand with guest speaker

Founded in rural North Carolina, House of Raeford Farms works diligently to provide opportunities for local residents to find employment in our operations and not feel like they have to leave their home to be successful.  This is also true about our other locations in South Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana. 

The board of education in Duplin County, NC agrees with this objective and through their STEAMA (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math, and Agriculture) initiative has committed to providing personalized career pathways for all students by connecting curriculum and communities.  House of Raeford is excited to be a partner in several of these disciplines.  Agriculture is certainly an obvious partnership, but our company offers career opportunities that require knowledge in science, technology, engineering, and math as well. 

Recently we sent a team of House of Raeford staff members to Wallace, NC Elementary School to celebrate Agricultural Awareness Day and to educate the students about the company’s history in Duplin County, an overview of our local facilities, and career opportunities to consider when they graduate from high school.  We introduced them to the breeding operation, hatchery, feed mill, laboratory, processing plants, and more.  They learned about our commitment to sustainability including the health and safety of our employees, the welfare of our animals, the safety of our food products, protection of our natural resources, and giving back to the communities where we have operations. 

Dr. Katie Shamoun, associate corporate veterinarian, met with teachers who are currently instructing students firsthand about the lifecycle of a broiler chicken from egg to plate.  She focused on incubation, which was very timely as some of the classrooms currently had eggs in small incubators approaching hatching time.  In addition, Dr. Shamoun and Dave Witter, Corporate Communications and Sustainability Manager, shared information with sixth grade and fourth grade children about the company, the importance of food production in feeding the world, careers, and specifically about the job of a veterinarian for chickens.  They also gave similar presentations at Kenansville Elementary.

In addition, Greg Lanier, Broiler Manager, described Johnson Breeder’s live production operation to a large assembly of Wallace Elementary sixth and seventh graders.  He was joined by Whaley Casteen, Sales Manager (Wallace); Dellanee Bruce, Quality Assurance Technician (Wallace); Jacob Thomas, Quality Assurance Lead (Wallace); Buddha Victoria, Second Processing Manager (Rose Hill); and Kelly Smith, Debone Supervisor (Rose Hill).  

Tom Teachey, House of Raeford’s Outreach Director for Duplin County leads the agricultural education partnership with Wallace Elementary known as Generation Next and a cooperative program with Rose Hill-Magnolia Elementary.  “These are the first steps we are taking in Duplin County to educate students in the concept that everything you are and everything you grow is born out of seed, time, and harvest,” Teachey said.  “Through these alliances we hope to cultivate our next generation of farmers, agricultural employees, and stewards of the land.”