Foster Farms has made a "firm offer" to buy the shuttered Pilgrim's Pride plant in Farmerville, La., according to Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner Mike Strain.

Strain said Foster Farms, a family-owned operation since the 1930s, has offered $40 million for the plant.

Strain said the state is offering "major incentives" to Foster Farms to buy the plant. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s Chief of Staff Timmy Teepell was quoted in a local newspaper as saying Jindal had agreed to match the offer dollar for dollar with the stipulation that the company must keep the workforce intact for five years.

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Commenting on the offer, Ray Atkinson, director of corporate communications for Pilgrim’s, told WATT Poultry e-News that Louisiana Gov. Jindal and Pilgrim’s CEO Don Jackson had spoken by phone this week. “Dr. Jackson explained to the governor that the offer for the Farmerville complex was below our requirements. It would essentially put Foster in business at a cost of entry of $20 million, well below the real cost and at a level with which neither Pilgrim's Pride nor the rest of the industry could effectively compete,” said Atkinson.

“Dr. Jackson did not rule out a possible sale, but noted that it would have to be at a price well beyond $40 million. He also reiterated that selling the facility would not address the fundamental problem facing our industry: an oversupply of low-value commodity chicken,” Atkinson said. “As such, if the Farmerville complex were sold, the company would, unfortunately, designate another facility for shutdown,” he said.