Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. will close a poultry processing plant in Luverne, Minn., putting about 200 people out of work less than a year after acquiring the facility.

Pilgrim’s Pride, which is based in Greeley, Colo., said closing the Luverne plant will allow it “to shift production and equipment to more efficient operations to enhance synergies.” It aims to complete the shutdown by Dec. 29.

Production capabilities at the Luverne plant will be transferred to other nearby facilities and the closure will not impact overall production capacity, the company said. A spokeswoman for Pilgrim’s Pride said Wednesday no decisions have been made about what will happen to the plant after it is closed.

“The Pilgrim’s team explored several options before arriving at the difficult decision to close the Luverne facility,” Jayson Penn, head of Pilgrim’s USA, said in a statement issued Tuesday.

He said the company will help employees find jobs and offer relocation opportunities at its other locations.

The plant was a former beef production facility for IBP Inc. that was purchased in 1998 by St. Cloud-based GNP Co., the maker of Gold’n Plump and Just Bare chicken products, and converted to produce frozen and convenience chicken products.

Pilgrim’s Pride, which is owned by Brazil-based JBS S.A., the world’s largest meat processor by sales, bought GNP for $350 million in January.

It picked up the Luverne plant and two others, in Cold Spring, Minn., and Arcadia, Wis., in the deal.

Pilgrim’s is the second largest chicken producer in the United States after Tyson Foods Inc.


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