Search Our Site...


Poultry plant buyout plan approved by state legislature

May 8, 2009

Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said the state legislature has approved changes to the mega-projects fund financing rules and approved the state’s plans to help Foster Farms of California purchase the Pilgrim’s Pride poultry processing plant in Farmerville.
Pilgrims Pride was scheduled to shutter the Farmerville plant on Friday, May 8.
The closing of the poultry plant would have seriously affected not only the agricultural economy but also the overall economy of northeast Louisiana, Strain said.
“It would have meant that poultry farmers and all the feed, financing and restocking industry that goes into maintaining the poultry industry in northeast Louisiana would have come to a standstill,” Strain said. “There are those who think agricultural jobs are not as important as manufacturing jobs, but I say agriculture is the absolute backbone industry in this country and state and needs this kind of support.”
Strain said the legislature lowered the amount a private enterprise would have to invest in a Louisiana business venture in order to qualify for mega-project funding.
The state will match a $40 million investment from Foster Farms for the purchase and invest an additional $10 million to help improve the poultry facility.
“Governor Jindal and Senators Mike Walsworth and Bob Kostelka and Representatives Hollis Downs and Jim Fannin worked tirelessly on this deal,” Strain said. “Louisiana agriculture is too important to not get this kind of governmental support.”
Strain said legislative support also came from Senators Francis Thompson and Neil Riser and Representatives Kay Katz, Rick Gallot, Bubba Chaney, Noble Ellington, Sam Little, Rosalind Jones and Frank Hoffmann.
“We could not have gotten this measure passed without the united support of the northeast Louisiana legislative delegation,” Strain said.
According to the 2007 Louisiana Summary compiled by the LSU AgCenter, poultry production is the largest animal agricultural industry in the state and is second only to forestry in total income production for all agricultural commodities.
            In 2007, 460 Louisiana growers produced 1.06 billion pounds of broiler meat with a gross value of $795 million.
            The gross value for all poultry production in Louisiana was $884.1 million in 2007. The total value of poultry production in the state was $1.733 billion.