COLUMBIA, S.C. – McCall Farms Inc., a producer of Southern canned and frozen vegetables in Florence County, announced today the addition of a new canning line, Bruce's Yams. The $19.3 million investment is expected to generate 140 new jobs over the next five years.
Founded in 1838 as a 2,000-acre farm in Effingham, McCall Farms operated as a farm until 1954. Through hard work, innovative farming techniques and the fertile soil of Florence County, McCall Farms became well-known for bringing fresh Southern vegetables to dinner tables all across the South. The original product lines of tomatoes, okra and corn quickly expanded to the company offering squash, string beans, peas, potatoes, peanuts, peaches and a bountiful selection of greens in its product line.
“The acquisition of the Bruce's brand is an exciting addition to our growing company,” said Marion Swink, co-owner of McCall Farms. “Bruce Foods is a family-owned company that has shared our similar values, and their Southern style vegetables are the perfect addition to the McCall Farms' product line.”
“It's exciting to see homegrown companies continue to prosper within our state borders,” said Gov. Nikki Haley. “We applaud McCall Farms' expansion and the 140 new jobs it will bring to Effingham.”
McCall Farms has expanded throughout the years and has grown by increased production and by expanding into new markets with new products and labels. The most notable expansion was Holmes Canning Company, purchased in 1985. Utilizing the popular Margaret Holmes brand obtained in the purchase, McCall Farms expanded initially into the Georgia and Alabama markets but quickly extended throughout the Southeast and now the entire U.S.
The Glory Foods label was acquired in 2010, which expanded McCall Farms' operation with the addition of a 150,000-square-foot shipping house and 65 jobs. In July of 2012, the company announced a $10.6 million investment that allowed an increase in the number of production lines as well as the ability to move to a 24-7 production schedule.
“While we are widely recognized for our business-friendly environment, South Carolina's agriculture climate is also perfect for growing successful agribusinesses. McCall's expansion is another example of the impact this sector is making in our state,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt.
Since January 2011, South Carolina has recruited $260 million in capital investment and 1,625 jobs in the agribusiness sector.
“McCall Farms is one of our great farm families in South Carolina as well as a great Certified SC Grown member! I am pleased to see the company's latest expansion, which is proof that South Carolina agribusiness has the power to grow both the economy and jobs,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers.
Now the company has acquired Bruce's Yams, “America's #1 selling yam!” Bruce's canned yams use the tender part of the sweet potato called the sweetheart, which is certified by the American Heart Association. This acquisition includes the Bruce's brand and the two existing Bruce Foods' facilities. The products currently manufactured by Bruce Foods, and included in this acquisition, are yams, white potatoes and Southern vegetables (i.e. okra, squash, greens and carrots).
Senator Hugh K. Leatherman said, “I congratulate McCall Farms and the Swink Family on this great announcement. Since 1838, the family has been in the agriculture business and began canning products in 1954. Since then their operation has grown to a 24 hour a day 7 days a week production line with over 600 employees. This expansion will add more than one hundred employees. McCall Farms is a great Florence County company that is adding to the agricultural base of our state.”
“I applaud everyone who pitched in to make this deal possible, and moreover, McCall Farms for continually investing in our workforce. Every job counts,” said Florence County Council Chairman James Schofield.
Florence County Economic Development Partnership Chairman Frank J. “Buddy” Brand stated, “What a testament for a local home grown business to have so much success in Florence County. As one of our largest employers, they undoubtedly have had a major impact on Florence's economy over the years. Congratulations and I look forward to many more announcements with this fine family company.”
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved a $1 million set aside grant for infrastructure improvements related to the project.