JACKSON — Cal-Maine Foods Inc. (NASDAQ: CALM) has entered into a new joint venture for specialty egg sales with Hickman’s Egg Ranch Inc. Based in Buckeye, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix in western Maricopa County, Hickman’s Egg Ranch has been family-owned and operated since 1944. With processing operations located in Arizona, Colorado and California, and capacity for approximately 6.0 million laying hens, Hickman’s Egg Ranch ranks among the top 20 family egg farms in the United States.
Pursuant to this transaction, the new joint venture, known as Southwest Specialty Eggs, LLC, will acquire the Egg-Land’s Best Inc. franchise for the state of Arizona with exclusive licensing agreements for the sale of Egg-Land’s Best and Land O’ Lakes branded specialty eggs and other premium brands. Sales of Egg-Land’s Best specialty eggs accounted for approximately 14.3 percent of Cal-Maine’s total shell egg sales in fiscal 2013.
Commenting on the announcement, Dolph Baker, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Cal-Maine Foods, said, “This transaction is commensurate with our growth strategy to expand our market reach in specialty egg sales. Consumer demand for specialty eggs has continued to grow, and Cal-Maine Foods is well positioned to meet this demand with a variety of healthy choices for our customers.”
Cal-Maine Foods is primarily engaged in the production, grading, packing and sale of fresh shell eggs, including conventional, cage-free, organic and nutritionally-enhanced eggs. The company, which is headquartered in Jackson, is the largest producer and distributor of fresh shell eggs in the United States and sells the majority of its shell eggs in approximately 29 states across the southwestern, southeastern, mid-western and mid-Atlantic regions of the United States.