Pilgrim's To Close Atkins Feed Plant

ATKINS, ARKANSAS - Pilgrim's Pride has announced it will set idle its feed mill in October, leaving local poultry farmers are 'in dire straits'. Production may be resumed if market conditions improve.
calendar icon 14 August 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Just six months after Atkins was devastated by a tornado, the community is taking another hit reports KATV.

Pilgrim's Pride has announced it is to idle the feed mill in Atkins in 60 days, leaving two dozen workers without a job and many poultry farmers in dire straits.

Rodney Wyllia, a poultry farmer near Atkins, found out on 11 August that his contract with Pilgrim's Pride would soon end.

He said, "I was devastated because this is my main source of income for my family. It was just devastating to us. I was physically ill, literally. I just thought I was going to pass out. Once these chickens are shipped out in about four weeks this chicken farm will basically be out of business."

His wife, Amanda explained, "You get loans on your chicken houses to build them. We owe probably $400,000 at least on the chicken houses so if there is no chicken to supply them we have no income to pay that payment or live off of so it's very scary."

Pilgrim's Pride expects to close its feed mill in Atkins indefinitely around 10 October. The corporation says the decision comes as a result of soaring feed costs and an over-supply of chicken on the market.

It's a move that came as a shock to the Atkins Chamber of Commerce who says he was already working on bring new industry to the area.

Its president, Alan Stubbs said, "We're trying to become a play in oil and gas and there's a lot of resources there that we haven't tapped…that we're going to try to tap."

Pilgrim's Pride commented that it is working on a compensation package for growers but for now, many of them do not know how they will make ends meet.

Mr Stubbs said, "Myself and other farmers we don't know what's going to happen, what we are going to do. We don't have any other contracts."

Pilgrim's Pride says if the market conditions improve, it may consider reopening the feed mill in Atkins.

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