PITTSBURG, Texas (AP) -- Pilgrim's Pride Corp. said Friday it will cut 3,000 jobs as it shuts down operations at three of its 32 chicken processing plants, including one in Arkansas.
The closures, which will reduce the company's chicken production by roughly 10 percent, are designed to save the company $110 million a year as part of an ongoing restructuring. The company filed for Chapter 11 protection in December under a heavy debt load.
The company expects the closures to cost $35 million, not including asset write-downs it may take in the second quarter.
The plants are expected to close by mid-May. They are in Douglas, Ga.; El Dorado, Ark.; and Farmerville, La.
The move also affects 430 independent chicken farmers, the company said.
The company also said it would combine its protein salad production operation in Franconia, Pa., with its Moorefield, W. Va., facility.
In El Dorado, Pilgrim's Pride has a processing plant, a feed mill and a hatchery. Local growers supply eggs and live birds to the company. The company has an annual payroll of $44.3 million, and pays about $16.8 million to contract farmers in and around Union County in south Arkansas.
Since the start of 2008, Pilgrim's Pride has cut about 700 jobs from its El Dorado plant, which once employed 1,620. The company warned employees in April that it might close the plant if its production quality did not improve.
Pilgrim's Pride, like Arkansas-based Tyson Foods Inc., has been straining from skyrocketing feed costs and a weakening economy. The company previously idled its plant in Clinton. It also has facilities in Batesville and De Queen.