Purdue Flying the Coop?

By: Mike Tolbert
By: Mike Tolbert

Kevin Tolly has worked for Purdue Farms in Defuniak Springs for five years as a feed truck driver. He enjoys his work, but says rumors about the plant's future have him worried.

There's been a controversy about the plant shutting down and Perdue's supposed to make an official announcement on the 2nd. On December 8, Calge Incorporated announced a letter of intent by Purdue Farms to buy Cagle's poultry processing complex in Georgia.

Since then, rumors have circulated that Purdue plans to announce the closing of the Defuniak plant on February 2, giving the union a required 60 days before they actually close the plant on April 2. Tolly and his co-workers have gotten no answer when they questioned Purdue management about the plant’s future.

What does the shutdown of the Purdue plant mean for Walton County? According to Mr. Tolly, possibly the loss of 300 to 400 jobs. Management of the plant would not speak to Newschannel Seven, but the corporate office of Purdue Farms did say they've heard chatter about the Defuniak plant shutting down, but at this point, no decision has been made.

Tolly says he needs more reassurance than that. He says, "It's not just me and my livelihood, it’s Defuniak Springs, it’s the community, and it’s a big thing!"


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