Foster Farms sold to Connecticut-based conglomerate

Local poultry powerhouse Foster Farms is under new ownership, as the sale of the family business was announced earlier this week to Atlas Holdings, a global conglomerate based in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Atlas and its subsidiaries own and operate 25 businesses in more than 300 facilities worldwide. Atlas operates in sectors such as aluminum processing, automotive, building materials, capital goods, construction services, food manufacturing and distribution, packaging, paper, power generation, printing, pulp, supply chain management and wood products.

Atlas acquired Foster Farms’ processing facilities in California, Washington, Louisiana, Oregon and Alabama, as well as the company’s 10,000 employees.

“We are delighted to welcome Foster Farms to the Atlas family of leading global companies,” Atlas Partners Sam Astor, Ed Fletcher and Mike Sher said in a statement released. “We have a long history of partnering with proud family businesses to honor their past while fostering additional operational, environmental and financial success for the next generation.”

Atlas also announced that longtime poultry industry leader Donnie Smith, former Chairman and CEO of Tyson Foods, has been named the new Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Foster Farms. Smith spent 36 years with Tyson in roles spanning all business functions. He was named CEO in 2009, a position he held until his retirement in 2016. Under his leadership, Tyson experienced record growth, entered new markets and expanded its product offering, remaining true to the legacy of Tyson while forging his way as one of the world leaders. largest food companies.

“I love the poultry industry and I’m proud that Atlas asked me to become the CEO of Foster Farms,” ​​Smith said. “I have long been an admirer of the Foster family and the business they have built over the past eight decades. In this new era, we will maintain and grow this legacy, rooted in animal welfare, quality superior products, customer service and community involvement.”

Founded in 1939 on a small farm, Foster Farms has grown into a leading brand of fresh chicken in the West with products available nationwide. The company is also known for its generous donations to local food banks. Every year before Thanksgiving, Foster Farms donated thousands of pounds of turkey to West Coast food banks, including the San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties Second Harvest Food Bank. In 2020, the company stepped up efforts to donate an additional 420,000 servings of poultry to California and Washington state food banks to help families economically impacted by COVID-19.

In recent years, however, the company has had its fair share of problems.

In May, Foster Farms and its contracted staffing agencies were ordered to pay $3.8 million in fines after the California labor commissioner cited the company for failing to notify 3,476 workers of availability. additional paid sick leave for COVID-19.

In 2020, a Merced County judge granted a temporary restraining order sought by the United Farm Workers of America union against Foster Farms, where a virus outbreak at its Livingston plant killed nine people and sickened others. hundreds earlier this year. The factory has been ordered to close temporarily.

Also in 2020, the Animal Legal Defense Fund sued Foster Farms for wasting water when slaughtering chickens by “electrical immobilization”.

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