A Lot Of Questions Still Unanswered As Shutdown Date For Pilgrim’s In Boaz Looms Closer

Posted on: 6:58 pm, December 13, 2013, by , updated on: 10:35pm, December 13, 2013

BOAZ, Ala. (WHNT) — As the set shutdown date for the Pilgrim’s plant in Boaz gets closer county and city leaders are still working to find out the total impact of the closure.

When the Pilgrim’s plant closes on January twenty-fourth many of the more than 1,000 workers will be moving to the plant in Guntersville. But how many? Marshall County Economic Development Council President Matt Arnold says there have been a string of meetings with Pilgrim’s since the announcement of the plant’s closure, but there’s still questions.  “We had a meeting last week with a couple of the local operations folks, on other matters, nothing relating to this or where the employment is going to be going,” Arnold says.

We called Pilgrim’s corporate office and plant managers in Boaz to get an answer for that question, however our calls weren’t able to be returned Friday.

Arnold says another unanswered question is the facility’s future. Selling it is a high priority for the county. Pilgrim’s leaders have agreed to help sell it, but the company does have stipulations.”They’re not going to want another poultry operation in there. That’s a corporate decision, we understand that,” Arnold says.

Arnold says other food processing plants are an option to sell to. However, he says they will most likely  have to wait a few more weeks before they get more answers about the future of the facility and its employees.

Boaz Water Board and Boaz Gas Boards say Pilgrim’s is one of their largest customers. Recently, the Boaz wastewater treatment facility was expanded with Pilgrim’s in mind. So with the expected loss in revenue from the plant’s shutdown and the recent expansions, managers with the water and gas boards say they’re working to find out how much of a change in dollar signs their customers will see once the shutdown date of January twenty-fourth comes.

A statement released by the water and gas boards reads: “The Boaz Water Board and the Boaz Gas Board are in the process of reviewing the impact the closure of the Pilgrims Pride plant will have on their operations. Every effort will be made to minimize the impact this closure will have on the Boards’ customers and employees. Unfortunately, because Pilgrims Pride was a very large part of the revenue received by both Boards, some adjustments will have to be made in order to maintain the financial stability of these operations.”

Poultry growers will also be affected by the plant’s shutdown. County leaders say the growers have meetings scheduled over the next few weeks to discuss their future with Pilgrim’s. Pilgrim’s officials said when the announcement of the closure was made they would work with the growers to move to other Pilgrim’s locations.