Farmers sue Ukrainian billionaire who closed Mocksville chicken plant

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DAVIE COUNTY, N.C. — When a young Ukrainian billionaire acquired the North Carolina operations of chicken processor Townsends out of bankruptcy in early 2011, the deal seemed to symbolize the increasing globalization of our food supply.

The Winston-Salem Journal reported that Oleg Bakhmatyuk, the majority owner of Ukraine’s largest egg producer, had elaborate plans to turn the facilities into the American outpost of a food empire that would strategically move protein around the world like pieces on a chess board.

Chickens grown on North Carolina farms would be fattened with cheap grain imported from the Ukraine, while the dark meat processed in Townsends’ Siler City and Mocksville facilities would be exported to markets in the Middle East, Ukraine, Russia and China.

As it turned out, Bakhmatyuk’s plan was more fantasy than revolutionary. After failing within six months, the Townsends operations, including the Mocksville plant, have sat idle for more than a year while Bakhmatyuk and his executives mull their next move.

Omtron USA, the company Bakhmatyuk used to buy the Townsends assets, has been forced to file for banktuptcy.

Read full story: The Winston-Salem Journal.