ConAgra Foods to expand amid ag controversy

Sep 28, 2012

ConAgra Foods, Inc., announced last week that it is expanding its facility in Russellville, AR, to make Bertolli and P.F.

Chang’s frozen meals. The expansion, anticipated to be a $100 million investment, is expected to create more than 80 jobs.

“ConAgra Foods has a long history in Russellville, and we are pleased to grow our presence in the area,” said Mike Tracy, senior vice president of Consumer Foods Supply Chain for ConAgra Foods. “Our dedicated employees, along with the support of the city of Russellville and the state of Arkansas, will allow us to make great food here for many years to come.”

The company has approximately 1,350 employees in Russellville and has operated in the area since 1965. ConAgra Foods acquired the Bertolli and P.F. Chang’s Home Menu frozen meals businesses earlier this year as part of its growth strategy, which includes growing its core businesses and expanding into strategic adjacencies.

While the company is busy expanding, it is also creating some controversy with its recent announcement that the company wants its pork suppliers to present action plans by 2017 that address eliminating gestation stall use and creating traceability systems within the pork supply chain within the next 10 years.

ConAgra issued the following statement:

“As part of our long-standing commitment to the humane treatment and handling of animals, ConAgra Foods supports the elimination of gestation stall housing for sows. We are asking our pork suppliers to present actionable plans by 2017 that address both the elimination of gestation stalls and creation of traceability systems within the pork supply chain. We recognize that implementing a phase-out may be a long-term process, and could take up to 10 years. ConAgra Foods intends to continue working with pork suppliers who share our commitment to the best animal welfare and handling practices.”

Nebraska’s We Support Agriculture group voiced their disappointment.

“The fact that a long-time, Nebraska-based, food company would choose to follow the agenda of an extreme animal rights organization such as the Humane Society of the United States will do nothing to improve the care provided to sows, but only place a significant burden on Nebraska’s farm families that raise pork.”


We Support Agriculture was established to defend Nebraska farm families from misinformation campaigns designed to discredit farm families under the false pretense of promoting humane treatment of animals. — Traci Eatherton, WLJ Editor