Pilgrim’s Pride, the US chicken giant, has announced it is to close its poultry processing facility in Lucerne, Minnesota, which employs around 200 people.

The Colorado-based firm said the decision to close the facility will “allow Pilgrim’s to shift production and equipment to more efficient operations to enhance synergies and better serve the company’s key customers”.

The facility will close on 29 December. 

Jayson Penn, head of the company’s US arm, said: “The Pilgrim’s team explored several options before arriving at the difficult decision to close the Luverne facility.

“We recognise the impact this has on our Luverne team, their families and the local community, and we will make every effort to assist in future job placement, including relocation opportunities at other company locations for all impacted employees.”

Acquired in 1998 from the city, the Luverne plant was a former IBP beef production facility that was converted to produce frozen and convenience chicken products. 

Production capabilities at Luverne will be transferred to other nearby company facilities. Pilgrim’s said the facility’s closure will have no impact on the company’s overall production capacity.

Pilgrim’s, majority-owned by Brazilian meat giant JBS, boasts of producing one in every five chickens sold in the US.

It employs around 55,000 people and operates chicken processing plants and prepared-foods facilities in 14 US states and in overseas locations.

In September, Pilgrim’s bought the UK-based poultry business Moy Park from its parent in a US$1.3bn deal.