RANTOUL, Ill. – An official with Carpentersville, Ill.-based pork processor Trim-Rite Food Corp. confirmed that the company is in negotiations to purchase and reopen the pork plant formerly operated by Meadowbrook Farms, a producer-owned co-op that was forced to close after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in early 2009.

Kurt Irelan, the project manager for Trim-Rite, told MeatPoultry.com that negotiations are ongoing and while it is too early to announce a deal, “we are in conversations and everybody is doing their due diligence.”

A formal announcement could come within a few days, but Irelan said his company isn’t ready to issue a press release just yet. However, he said, “It could happen as soon as next week.”

The company was considering building a plant, possibly in DeKalb, Ill., but starting a project from scratch would obviously require more time, and receiving approval for building such a plant can involve controversy and additional costs. Acquiring a newer facility where hogs were previously slaughtered and processed has clear advantages. Trim-Rite also operates a processing plant in Carpentersville.

The 120,000-sq.-ft. Meadowbrook Farms plant, built at a cost of approximately $24 million in 2004, previously employed approximately 600 workers and processed about 150 million lbs. of pork when it closed this past year.