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Pilgrim's Pride Plant, Jobs Leaving Siler City

Posted March 12, 2008

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— The nation's largest chicken-processing company is closing its plant in Siler City and laying off up to 1,100 employees.

Pilgrim's Pride Corp. said Wednesday the closure of the Chatham County facility is a result of soaring feed-ingredient costs resulting from corn-based ethanol production.

The closing is part of a plan to curtail losses amid record-high costs for corn, soybean meal and other feed ingredients and an oversupply of chicken in the nation, the company said in a news release.

Pilgrim's Pride is the second-largest employer in Chatham County.

"(It's) devastating for our local economy," Siler City Town Manager Joel Brower said.

The closure is a blow to the town budget as well. Pilgrim's Pride is the largest water and sewer customer, contributing about $1.2 million to the annual town budget. The company pays about $38,000 annually in taxes.

Elsewhere, the company will close distribution centers in Iowa, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Ohio.

Clint Rivers, Pilgrim Pride president and chief executive officer, said the closures were necessary to "help bring supply and demand into better balance."

"That portion of the demand for our products that exists solely at pricing levels below the cost of production is no longer a demand that this industry can continue to supply," he said.

Further actions are also likely, the company said, and could include more closures and consolidation of properties.

Workers in Siler City found out about the planned closing Wednesday afternoon. Layoffs are expected between mid-May and early June and could result in the elimination of up to 1,100 jobs.

The N.C. Commerce Department’s Division of Employment and Training has contacted Pilgrim's Pride to offer assistance with transition programs, including job search and placement assistance, career counseling, labor market information and assessment of skills and needs.

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  • Dr. Dataclerk Mar 13, 2008

    Gas will be $4.00 gal. in a about two weeks.

  • They call me CATMAN Mar 13, 2008

    motorfinga get off your liberal rant.

  • They call me CATMAN Mar 13, 2008

    Vince-RA republicans are not in charge any more of the congress.

  • Nope Mar 13, 2008

    Beachboater - the oil in anwar is equivalent to the us usage for about 215 days to about a little over a year. That is where the hesitancy comes in, do we ruin a pristine environment for a small amount of oil? If recovering the oil there would signifigantly reduce the cost of fuel in the us over a long period of time, and it could be done with a small impact on the environment, I, like most people, would be for it. It is a classic cost/benefit analysis.

  • doodad Mar 13, 2008

    Current market: corn $5.52/bu, Soybeans $13.12 (were over $15.00/bu last week)

    Last years market was around $4.00 corn and $7.00 soybeans.

    Last year, seed corn for planting was limited. This year seed corn is plentiful and soybean seed for planting is limited.

    China's buying power for crude oil, fertilizer, and farm commodities are what is also driving this market.

  • doodad Mar 13, 2008

    Raleighcitizen, you need to read my earlier post regarding input costs.

    In todays world, subsidies allow corporate farms to list numerous entities within that corporation which allows them to obtain more government subsidies that in return has driven up land rent costs that is now driving more small farms out of business. I have no problem with disaster payouts in a year like 2007, but some farmers buy crop insurance and file every year. By doing this, the base that they would receive in a disaster year like 2007 is greatly reduced. The system works better if they don't file disaster and use it in years when it is really needed.

    The tobacco buyout and subsidies are hurting small farmers just like Wal-Mart hurts small businesses.

  • beachboater Mar 12, 2008

    "Also, drilling in ANWR would not bring any new gasoline to market for at least 10 years. It wouldn't have any effect on current grain prices or the closing of this plant."
    Raleigh Citizen

    But golly gee whiz, if we had started drilling when it was first located, where would we be now? If we hadn't stifled refinery construction, what would the cost of gasoline be now?

    But regardless, it's Bush and Cheney's fault. OMG, it rained last week. Was that Bush and Cheney's fault also? Nah, that was a good thing. It couldn't have had anything to do with Bush or Cheney.
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  • Doctor Dataclerk Mar 12, 2008

    I still say, when you incorporate the cost of the fuel to till the soil, apply fertilizer, lime, weed control, and insect control, the energy to dry the soybeans/corn, haul them to a processing plant, the energy used to convert the soybeans to biofuel and the energy to convert the corn to ethanol, that there is a net loss of energy, not a net gain. Some want to feel green, and most farmers and the process plant owners want to suck the life out of the rest of us taxpayers with government subsidies to both of these ideas. If it can be made on it's own without subsidies, go for it, but it not feed the chickens and make tortillas with it.

  • motorfinga Mar 12, 2008

    Another success of the right wing Bush/Cheney junta!

  • ckblackm Mar 12, 2008

    Don't blame the environmentalists... they're not the ones pushing for ethanol. Corn based ethanol is a worse solution to a bad problem.

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