Perdue drops 10 poultry producers

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

Ten Perdue poultry producers in the Suffolk and Isle of Wight County areas have lost their contracts to raise the broilers.

The local producers were among 95 in Virginia and North Carolina whose contracts weren’t renewed due to the company’s recently announced decision to close its Robersonville, N.C., processing plant by the end of the summer, said George Bailey, a spokesman for the Salisbury, Md.-based Perdue Farms Inc.


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&uot;It’s no longer logistically reasonable for them to be growers because of the distance (to the appropriate type of plant),&uot; Bailey said. &uot;It is a cost-based decision.&uot;

Two local producers impacted by Perdue’s action refused to comment.

The company is taking steps to help the producers, some of whom have raised chickens for Perdue for two decades, Bailey said.

The company has devised a compensation program that gives producers a one-time cash disbursement, he said. The formula used to determine the payment amount looks at a number of factors, including the square footage of the broiler houses, the number of roasters and length of time as a producer.

Although the average settlement is $40,000, a few are upwards of $600,000, Bailey said.

The company announced last month that is would be closing both the Robersonville plant on Aug. 22 and its Emporia deboning plant on Sept. 19. Between the two closings, more than 900 workers will be losing their jobs.

Suffolk has 10 poultry operations, nearly all of which are Perdue contractors. According to the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, Suffolk produces 1.5 million broilers annually.