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LAFA distributes $11.2 million for poultry grower aid

February 23, 2011

Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said the Louisiana Agricultural Finance Authority (LAFA) is distributing $11.2 million today in aid to poultry growers who were affected by the 2008 bankruptcy of chicken processor Pilgrim’s Pride.
“The checks and direct deposit transactions are being distributed today,” Strain said. “These funds should provide tremendous relief for many of the growers who were damaged.”
Pilgrim’s Pride shuttered its Farmerville plant in 2009, affecting more than 300 independent Louisiana and Arkansas poultry suppliers.
Pilgrim’s Pride’s bankruptcy also had repercussion with growers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas. More than $60 million was made available for all growers who lost contracts because of Pilgrim’s Pride’s bankruptcy, Strain said.
Strain said 175 Louisiana growers, mostly located in northeast Louisiana, were paid $11.2 million to help offset their losses resulting from Pilgrim’s Pride’s bankruptcy.
The funding for the Poultry Lost Contract Grant Assistance Program came from the federal Poultry Growers Assistance Program managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Strain said.
LAFA, a division of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry’s Office of Management and Finance, processed the claims.
Foster Farms took over operation of the Farmerville plant and reopened the facility with the assistance of a $50 million state grant, but many northeast Louisiana growers were nearly ruined during the transition, Strain said.
“This money will literally help some of the growers make back payments on their mortgages that will allow them to keep their farms,” Strain said.