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Arkadelphia Siftings Herald - Arkadelphia, AR
  • Petit Jean to close April 1

  • Petit Jean Poultry in the Clark County Commerce Park has announced the closing of the facility, effective April 1.

    Plant manager Ronnie Farham said the facility has a total payroll of more than $3.5 million annually, which will have a huge impact on the local economy.

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  • Petit Jean Poultry in the Clark County Commerce Park has announced the closing of the facility, effective April 1.
    Plant manager Ronnie Farham said the facility has a total payroll of more than $3.5 million annually, which will have a huge impact on the local economy.
    Farham said during an interview this morning that Petit Jean is contracted with Tyson to de-bone chicken.
    “Tyson’s corporate office in Springdale cancelled our contract in November,” Farham said.
    Tyson is beginning its own de-boning process at the Hope Tyson plant.
    “I’m not blaming Hope for anything,” Farham said. “If the shoe was on the other foot, Petit Jean would do the same. It doesn’t help us any but I don’t blame Hope.”
    A press release from the company on Friday indicated that there are 385 workers currently at the plant. Farham said that number is down extensively from previous years.
    “At one time, we had over 700,” Farham said.
    He said the facility began depending more on automation, which required fewer workers, and then stopped hiring when it became evident that the Tyson contract was going to come to an end.
    “We had hoped to find somebody else to contract for,” Farham said this morning.
    He said local economic development officials are “looking for someone to purchase the facility and take it over.” Farham said he is “not optimistic” that it can happen prior to the April 1 deadline.
    Rep. Johnnie Roebuck said the efforts are already underway.
    “The Alliance is working hard to find another industry to move in,” said Roebuck.
    Roebuck pledged to help in that process in “any way I can.”
    Shawnie Carrier, president of the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance, said her office is working with the Arkansas Economic Development Corporation and cited her concern for the families affected by the layoffs.
    “The Alliance, Petit Jean Poultry and AEDC will continue to partner, aggressively pursuing other options for this facility,” Carrier said in a prepared release this morning. “No stone will be unturned.”
    The plant has been in business since March of 1991.
     

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