Pilgrim’s Pride downsizes chicken operations

March 14, 2008
Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation will close a chicken processing complex and six of its 13 distribution centers in the United States in response to the crisis facing the U.S. chicken industry from soaring feed-ingredient costs resulting from corn-based ethanol production.

Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation will close a chicken processing complex and six of its 13 distribution centers in the United States in response to the crisis facing the U.S. chicken industry from soaring feed-ingredient costs resulting from corn-based ethanol production.

These actions are part of a plan to curtail losses amid record-high costs for corn, soybean meal, and other feed ingredients and an oversupply of chicken in the United States. The closings, expected to begin immediately and to be completed by June 2008, will result in the elimination of some 1,100 jobs.

Under the plan, the Pittsburg TX-based poultry giant will close its chicken processing complex in Siler City NC, which employs about 830 people. Pilgrim’s Pride also plans to shut down distribution centers in Oskaloosa IA; Plant City and Pompano Beach FL; Jackson MS; Nashville TN; and Cincinnati OH. The company will provide transition programs to employees to assist them in securing new employment, filing for unemployment, and other applicable benefits.

The largest chicken company in the United States and Puerto Rico and second-largest in Mexico, Pilgrim’s Pride employs around 54,500 workers and operates 37 chicken processing and 12 prepared-foods facilities. Its products are sold to foodservice, retail, and frozen-entree customers.

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