Pilgrim’s Pride talks with state

Staff reports

FARMERVILLE — Pilgrim’s Pride says it is studying a sweetened $60 million offer being brokered by Gov. Bobby Jindal for the company’s soon-to-be-shuttered chicken processing complex near Farmerville.

The Texas-based company, which is in federal bankruptcy protection, says there have been more discussions between Pilgrim’s Pride, the governor and his staff.

On Wednesday, Pilgrim’s Pride rejected a $40 million purchase price, half of which would have been put up by the state. The interested buyer is Foster Farms, a California-based poultry company. Jindal is pushing the deal to save 1,300 jobs.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission’s Rapid Response Team has already held one orientation session and has several others schedule for the employees in case negotiations between Jindal and Pilgrim’s Pride fall through.

The first session was on Wednesday, March 11 at the Arcadia Feedmill in East Arcadia with about 25 employees in attendance.

A second session is to be held today from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Athens Hatchery, 6201 Highway 518, Athens. Around 23 Pilgrim’s Pride employees should be in attendance.

Twenty sessions have been scheduled for the first three days next week to assist the employees.

On Monday, March 16, there will be eight sessions. The first two sessions of the day will be from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. One session is at the fresh plant; the other is at the cook plant.

From 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., both plants will have the second sessions of the day. Employees can meet at the fresh and cook plant from 11:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. for the third session of the day.

The fresh plant will have a fourth session from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., and the cook plant will have one from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

On Tuesday, March 17, the fresh plant will have three sessions. They are from 8:45 a.m. to 10:15 a.m., from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. The cook plant will have four sessions from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m,. from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. and from 10:30 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Five sessions will be held at the fresh plant on Wednesday, March 18. They are from 10 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., from 12:30 a.m. to 2 a.m., from 2:30 a.m. to 4 a.m., from 4:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. and from 6:30 a.m. to 8 a.m.

These sessions are subject to change if the $60 million offer is taken by Pilgrim’s Pride.