EL DORADO, ARK. — A group of buyers has offered to purchase a Pilgrim's Pride plant in El Dorado that is set to close in May, although the Texas-based poultry company has not responded to the offer, said Gov. Mike Beebe in an Associated Press story.

Speaking to a group of 250 workers and community members Tuesday night, Mr. Beebe said it could be an "uphill battle" to make the sale. However, the governor said those interested in purchasing the plant had experience in the business. "It ain't somebody that's been running F.W. Woolworth or who doesn't know how to run a plant," Mr. Beebe said.

He declined to offer any specific details about the group, other than to say they had been working on their offer for about five months. "The odds are we're not going to be able to get this done no matter how hard we're trying," he conceded. "But we've got to try."

The gathering became somewhat heated at times after he opened the floor to questions. "I'm going to get kicked out of my home," shouted one grower. "Where am I going?"

Last week, Pilgrim's Pride Corp. announced it plans to shut down operations at three of its 32 chicken plants. The company said it would cut its productions by roughly 10% at a savings of $110 million a year. The company filed for Chapter 11 protection in December.

Pilgrim's Pride has a processing plant, a feed mill and a hatchery in El Dorado. As a result, more than 800 plant employees are slated to lose their jobs. Local growers who supply eggs and live birds to the company will also be affected by the closure.

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