PITTSBURG, TEXAS — Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. said it will close its chicken processing plant in Dalton, Ga., within 60 days and consolidate production at its processing facility in Chattanooga, Tenn. The moves are part of the company’s larger efforts to improve capacity utilization and reduce costs.

"The closing of the Dalton plant is part of our plan to maximize our capacity utilization and operate more efficiently as a market-driven company," said Don Jackson, president and chief executive officer. "We will continue to look for opportunities to improve our cost structure as we reorganize the company. While the decision to eliminate jobs is always painful, we are taking decisive steps now to protect the greatest number of jobs in order to restructure our business and ultimately emerge from Chapter 11 as a stronger, more efficient competitor."

Pilgrim’s Pride said the Dalton closing would affect approximately 280 employees, with 120 independent contract growers who currently supply birds to the Dalton facility transitioned to begin supplying the company’s Chattanooga plant or other nearby facilities. The company said it will continue to operate its hatchery in Cohutta, Ga.

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