Roanoke.com - Business Stories -Grants help Shenandoah turkey co-op move closer to purchase of Pilgrim's Pride plant
Pilgrim's, a Texas-based company that bought a turkey processing plant from WLR Foods in 2001, said in April it would cease all operations at the plant by Oct. 1 if a buyer was not found.
Close to a third of all turkey production in Virginia was destined to disappear, which could have been a disastrous loss to the Shenandoah Valley. The poultry industry is the largest segment of the state's agricultural economy, with more than $690 million in annual cash receipts for chickens, turkeys and eggs. The turkey industry is worth $177 million to the valley in sales alone.
About 170 growers who supplied the plant with birds and close to 1,300 employees would have suffered if the plant shut down, federal officials said.
Now, the farmers can control their business and have a place to sell their product, Warner said.