Pilgrim's closing Dallas plant, 1,000 losing jobs

by Bryan Salvage
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GREELEY, Colo. – In an effort to cut cost, and on the same day it reported a significant second-quarter loss, Pilgrim's Pride Corporation announced plans to close its chicken-processing plant in Dallas, Texas by Sept. 30. Approximately 1,000 hourly and salaried employees who work at the Dallas facility will be affected by the plant closing.

Positions at other Pilgrim’s facilities are expected to be offered to Dallas plant employees. Production from the closed plant will be consolidated into several other Pilgrim's facilities in the region, including the processing and prepared-foods plants in Mt. Pleasant, Texas, to improve capacity utilization.

Other live production operations in Northeast Texas will continue to function. Pilgrim's contract growers who supply birds to the Dallas plant will begin supplying the other company plants following the consolidation. There will be no disruption in supply of product to Pilgrim's customers.

"While the decision to close a plant and eliminate jobs is always painful, we must make better use of our assets given the challenges facing our industry from record-high feed costs and an oversupply of chicken," said Bill Lovette, president and CEO. "A key component of that effort is improving our capacity utilization through production consolidation and other operational changes.

“By closing the Dallas facility, we can consolidate that production volume at three other plants and help those sites run closer to full capacity,” he added. “In addition, we will eliminate the cost associated with transporting live birds from northeast Texas to the Dallas processing plant and shipping offal from Dallas back to our protein conversion plant in Mt. Pleasant. This will significantly reduce our costs and allow us to operate more efficiently. In addition, we believe it will go a long way toward helping position Pilgrim's to emerge from the current industry down-cycle as a leaner, more competitive company."

There are no plans to close any other processing facilities at this time, Lovette concluded.
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