Panhandle Chicken Plant Closure Still Being Felt a Year Later

One year after the last Perdue Farms processing workers hung up their hip boots and hard hats, the plant stands empty along a quiet stretch of U.S. 90 in the east of DeFuniak Springs.

Motorists still use the two-lane road in DeFuniak Springs, but not as an artery for what was once the area's largest private employer.

At Mehlhorn's Mini-Mart just east of the plant, folks are no longer waiting to cash their checks when the doors open on Friday.

Forty-eight chicken farmers had contracts with Perdue that ended last spring. Some opted to sell their farms to pay the mortgage on their chicken houses that dropped in value from nearly $100,000 to next to nothing. Others face foreclosure.

Some workers are also still struggling to find new jobs.