Poultry processor House of Raeford Farms announced it is phasing out its turkey growing and slaughter operations in eastern North Carolina to focus on increasing chicken production volumes and expanding its fully cooked turkey and chicken product lines.

The decision will result in the closure of the company's Rose Hill, N.C., turkey hatchery, Raeford, N.C., slaughter plant and turkey operations in eastern North Carolina over the next four to six months.

The slaughter plant in Raeford, N.C., employs about 950 people. The Rose Hill hatchery currently has about 30 employees, most of whom will be offered jobs at other company facilities.

RELATED: Poultry processor invests $49 million in west Georgia plant

The company says government ethanol mandates have led to higher corn prices and greater feed costs. Falling rates of turkey consumption also contributed to the company's decision.

Meanwhile, Raeford Farms' chicken business has grown considerably and now represents more than 90% of sales.

"We intend to further expand the chicken business over the next two to three years so that our increased chicken volume will replace the turkey production we are phasing out," said Bob Johnson, CEO of House of Raeford.