E. MARVIN JOHNSON
Marvin Johnson was born into a hard-working, close-knit rural farm family in Southeastern North Carolina during the time of the Great Depression. In 1942, he graduated from Rose Hill High School and joined the Merchant Marines in 1944, where l1e served until 1946. He married the former Grace Powell in 1951 and, together, he and Grace raised tour children. Marvin is now the proud grandfather of twelve grandchildren. His beloved wife, Grace, passed away in February of 1996.
As a young man, Marvin and his brother, Bizzell, began their successful venture into the poultry business selling live turkeys on the streets of Rose Hill. The turkeys had been raised on the farm of their parents, Nash and Mary Sue Johnson. Operating in 1955 as Nash Johnson and Sons’ lnc., Nash Johnson and his two sons, Marvin and Bizzell, built the first feed mill in Rose Hill, NC. In 1959, with surplus capacity from the mill, the Johnson family expanded their business to include a chicken hatchery and grow-out operation. They became part owners in 1962 of Rose Hill Poultry, a chicken processing plant in Rose Hill, NC. That same year, they also became part owners of a turkey processing plant in Raeford, NC. In 1967, the Johnsons became the sole owners of Rose Hill Poultry, and in 1974, under the Johnsons’ sole leadership, Raeford Turkey Farms became known as the House of Raeford. During the years that followed, Rose Hill poultry became part of the House of Raeford Farms, lnc.; and in 1988, the company’s breaded specialty product plant opened in Hemingway, South Carolina.
In 1991, the Johnsons built a new feed mill - the largest in the country. That same year, Maryin’s son, Bob Johnson, became Vice President of the House of Raeford Fanns, lnc. The Johnsons further expanded their operations in 1992 with the opening of a specialty products plant in Athens, Michigan. As the poultry industry continued to grow throughout North Carolina and the nation, the House of Raeford had positioned itself by 1993 as the 12m largest privately owned company in North Carolina. In 1996, the House of Raeford opened a new 243,000 square foot further-processing plant and distribution center in Raeford, NC. This year, the House of Raeford purchased Columbia Farms in South Carolina, adding in 1998 an additional 195 million pounds of chicken to its sales base.
Currently, Marvin Johnson is Chairman and Owner of both the House of Raeford Farms, lnc. and Nash Johnson & Sons` Farms, lnc. Under Maryin’s strong leadership, the House of Raeford now employs approximately 4,500 associates and is aggressively postured for a very positive future.
While Marvin’s vision and insight steadily helped build the House of Raeford into one of North Carolina’s premier business operations, he truly helped pioneer and build the turkey industry in Eastern North Carolina, as well as the entire poultry food industry across the state of North Carolina and the nation; Through the years, Marvin served as President of the N. C. Turkey Federation, the N. C. Poultry Federation, the National Turkey Federation, and the Southeastern Poultry & Egg Association - now known as the U. S. Poultry & Egg Association - the largest poultry organization in the world.
Always taking time to participate in and support worthy causes, Marvin has been active in NCSU’s Wolfpack Club; active in the North Carolina Republican Party; has served on the State Board of Agriculture; is a member of Rose Hill Methodist Church; and has been one of the principal sponsors of the noted North Carolina Turkey Festival held annually in Raeford. Well known for his vision, his keen insight, his use of good common sense, and his wit and humor, Marvin is revered by his family, friends, peers, and business associates alike as one of the most remarkable entrepreneurs and men of our time.
In honor of his numerous contributions to the growth and development of North Carolina’s poultry food industry, the Officers and Directors of the North Carolina Poultry Federation are very pleased to induct E. Marvin Johnson into the North Carolina Poultry Hall of Fame.
August 28, 1998