Poultry producers who lost contracts due to the 2008 bankruptcy of Pilgrim’s Pride face a Dec. 3 deadline to apply for a $60 million grant program, according to the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry. Pilgrim’s Pride’s bankruptcy affected producers in Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas.

To be eligible, poultry producers must have lost their contract with the bankrupt poultry supplier between May 1, 2008, and July 1, 2010, and have suffered a financial loss. The program will allow growers to recoup losses due to the Pilgrim’s Pride bankruptcy.

“We want every grower who lost their contract with Pilgrim’s Pride to know about and apply for the Poultry Lost Contract Grant Assistance Program,” said Mike Strain, Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner.

Pilgrim’s Pride declared bankruptcy in 2008 and shuttered its Farmerville poultry processing plant in May 2009. More than 300 independent poultry growers in Louisiana and Arkansas were affected by the bankruptcy.

The state matched a $40 million investment from Foster Farms to entice the California poultry operation to take over the Pilgrim’s Pride Farmerville operation. Foster Farms invested an additional $10 million to improve the facility.

According to the 2009 LSU AgCenter agricultural summary, the gross farm value of the state’s poultry industry is more than $884 million.

The Louisiana Agricultural Finance Authority within the LDAF will administer the grant program. For more information, contact Rene Simon at (225) 922-1277.