Pilgrim's Pride Corporation announced April 13 plans to close its chicken processing plant in Dalton, Ga., within 60 days and consolidate production at the company's processing facility in Chattanooga, Tenn., according to a press release from the company.

The purpose of closing the plant is to improve the company's capacity utilization and reduce costs, according to the company.

Approximately 280 employees who work at the Dalton plant will be affected by the closing; however, the hatchery in Cohutta, Ga., will continue to operate. Other live production operations will also continue to function, but as a part of the Chattanooga complex or other nearby operations.

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Approximately 120 independent contract growers who currently supply birds to the Dalton processing plant will be transitioned to begin supplying the company's Chattanooga plant or other nearby company facilities within approximately 90 days.

“While the decision to eliminate jobs is always painful, we are taking decisive steps now to protect the greatest number of jobs in order to restructure our business and ultimately emerge from Chapter 11 as a stronger, more efficient competitor," said Don Jackson, president and CEO.

There will not be any disruption in the supply of product to retail, foodservice and industrial customers as a result of closing the Dalton facility, according to the release.