The Associated Press andRaleigh (N.C.) News & Observer reported thatOmtronexpects in early October to close two poultry plants in Siler City, N.C., and Mocksville, N.C., and end contracts with as many as 200 chicken farmers in four nearby counties.AP noted that Ukrainian billionaire Oleg Bakhmatyuk boughtTownsends'North Carolina assets out of bankruptcy in February for $25 million. The two plants employ about 1,000 people.

Perdue Farms Inc., Salisbury, Md., said it has begun operating "one of the largest commercially-owned solar power systems" in the eastern United States, near Bridgeville, Del. Officials said the Bridgeville installation of 6,720 solar panels will supply electricity to a nearby Perdue feed mill and Perdue AgriBusiness grain facility. They noted that this represents the first phase of a total 11,000 panels being installed at two Perdue facilities. The second phase of the installation is currently under construction at the Perdue corporate offices in Salisbury and is expected to be complete in October 2011.

Officials said thepanels are owned by Washington Gas Energy Services and were installed by Standard Solar, Rockville, Md. Perdue will purchase green electricity generated by the solar panels at guaranteed prices. Perdue estimates that both systems will generate a combined average of 3,700 megawatt hours of electricity each year, or the amount of power used by 340 typical U.S. homes. At peak production, the panels will produce as much as 90 percent of the electrical demand for each Perdue facility.