Crystal Lake Farms, a free-range poultry processing plant in Delaware County, is closing its doors and laying off 110 workers.
The 35,000-square-foot processing plant in Jay will shut down Sept. 10.
“We are not giving up – we are fighters,” said Becky Farley, Jay Chamber of Commerce president, referring to the plant’s closing and the employees loss of jobs.
The community wants businesses and jobs in Jay, she said.
The chamber, the Jay Economic Authority and Crystal Lake Farms are working together to help the displaced workers, she said.
“We are not excited about the plant closing and we are working with the (poultry) company to find another company,” Farley said, adding there are some possibilities but could not divulge any specific information.
The city’s Economic Development is looking for answers, she said.
“We are offering displaced employees the opportunity to transfer to other West Liberty Foods facilities, severance packages, team bonuses, and we are working with Oklahoma and Arkansas to help the displaced employees,” said Gerald Lessard, Crystal Lake Farms president.
Economics prompted the shutdown, he said.
Jay Mayor Les Newkirk called the closing a sad day and during a special city meeting in July reminded the council members it was about three years ago when the plant closed down and another buyer was found.
Newkirk met with Mid-America Industrial Park representatives and they are working to establish a technical classroom in the Jay School District due to a labor shortage and to teach students a trade in the Jay area.
The company’s pedigree farming operations plant in Decatur, Arkansas, will also reduce its operations to 20 employees.
Crystal Lake Farms is under the umbrella of Free Ranger LLC, which acquired the former Simmons Custom Process plant in 2015, according to the company’s website.
West Liberty Foods acquired Free Ranger LLC from the former Crystal Lake Farms in May 2017.