It said that one customer has contracted for the entire plant’s output, but now wants only whole birds.
Spokesman for Wayne Farms Frank Singleton said 200 workers will remain at the plant, which processes about 650,000 birds a week with the contract with that customer running until 2018.
Wayne Farms: The Facts
Wayne Farms LLC is the sixth-largest vertically integrated poultry producer in the U.S. with annual sales exceeding $1.9 billion.
A subsidiary of Continental Grain Company, Wayne Farms owns and operates 11 fresh and further-processed facilities throughout the Southeast.
It produces more than 2.6 billion pounds of poultry products each year, and employs more than 8,900 individuals.
The contract won’t affect Wayne Farms’ 10 other plants: one each in North Carolina, Georgia and Arkansas and seven in Alabama.
Singleton added that some of the Laurel workers may move to other plants.
Last May, the company announced that it will be expanding its Dothan, Alabama fresh processing facility. The expansion doubled the facility’s capacity and included building an additional 42,000 square-feet to the already existing structure and adding a minimum of 500 jobs. The project was tentatively scheduled for completion in mid-2016.
Clint Rivers, chief operating officer for Wayne Farms said: “Wayne Farms is excited for the opportunity to expand our business and bring jobs to the local area. With the rising demand for chicken we have an opportunity to increase our output.”