Perdue Farms, Salisbury, Md., is consolidating production from the Booth Creek Natural Chicken (BCNC) plant in Fredericksburg, Pa., to modernized plants with the capability and capacity to better serve customers for its Coleman and customer-owned organic and no-antibiotics-ever brands.
“As we increased our focus on premium brands and products, we freed up capacity across our supply chain, which lead us to look at how we could align our assets to more efficiently serve all of our customers,” says Lester Gray, senior vice president of operations. “When we looked at our long-term needs, it became clear that the BCNC plant would require significant and costly upgrades, and even then, we would not overcome the age and physical limitations of the facility.”
The Fredericksburg, Pa., plant will close on or shortly after March 14. The lease for a distribution center in Denver, Pa., that serves the BCNC plant will not be renewed. Perdue will offer all affected associates the opportunity to transfer to other Perdue facilities.
“We value the skills and dedication of the BCNC associates, and hope as many as possible will stay with us,” says Gray. “We are also working with the appropriate unions on potential transition benefits.”
Associates who choose not to transfer will be offered severance packages, including extended benefits coverage. Perdue Farms will also work with other employers and agencies to place as many individuals as possible within the community. These changes will have no impact on the company’s organic live production in Pennsylvania. Perdue will continue organic chicken production with the same local farmers, USDA-certified organic feed ingredient suppliers, organic feed manufacturing and local hatchery. The company plans to work with its other Pennsylvania growers to transition them to organic production. Perdue Farms is also contracting with Pennsylvania farmers to develop a breeder operation in the state.
“These moves are part of an ongoing strategy to focus on premium brands and products in the USDA process-verified all-vegetarian fed, no-antibiotics-ever and organic segments, while increasing efficiencies in an ever-more competitive marketplace,” says Jim Perdue, chairman.