News 472 views update:Jan 20, 2010

Pilgrim's Pride rejects offer for US plant (with video)

Bankrupt Pilgrim's Pride Corp. has rejected a $40 million offer to buy its processing plant in Farmerville, which is scheduled for closure.

The announcement came shortly after state Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain announced that a "firm offer" to buy the Farmerville plant had been made by California-based poultry company Foster Farms.

A Pilgrim's Pride spokesman said chief executive Don Jackson indicated any sale would have to be for far more than $40 million, of which the state was willing to pitch in half in the form of incentives.

About 1,300 Pilgrim's Pride employees are expected to lose their jobs in the coming weeks.

Pilgrim's decision to shut the Farmerville plant also affected 300 independent growers who raise chickens to market size, a hatchery in Athens, a hatchery in Choudrant and a feed mill in Arcadia.

In December, Pilgrim's Pride filed for reorganization under bankruptcy laws. It recently announced plans to idle three plants, including Farmerville and El Dorado, to help cut costs.

Foster Farms owns and operates hatcheries, chicken houses, feed mills and processing plants.

Click here to play the video



Natalie Berkhout

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