(Harrisburg) -- Perdue Farms is cutting an estimated 650 jobs in Lebanon and Lancaster counties.
The company says the Booth Creek Natural Chicken processing plant in Fredericksburg is slated to close around March 14th. It also means Perdue won’t renew its lease on a nearby distribution center in Denver.
The company says all impacted employees will be given the chance to transfer to other Perdue facilities. Those who don't will receive a severance package.
Susan Eberly, president of the Lebanon Valley Economic Development Corporation, says she was both surprised and disheartened by the announcement.
“The one thing [we can do] is to really get to the employees and let them know what services are out there, through their local CareerLink, retraining,” she says. “We’ll try to get them into other jobs as quickly as possible.”
To do that, Eberly says she will be working closely with the state Department of Labor and Industry's Rapid Response unit.
Governor Corbett says it'll be deployed to help workers at the plant seek jobs with other poultry processing operations in the area.
Perdue issued a statement indicating the Booth Creek facility would be too costly to upgrade in order to keep up with demands for its organic and premium products.
It will continue to raise organic chickens in Pennsylvania, and the Governor's office notes the company is adding 16 new "breeder houses" throughout the Commonwealth.
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