More unemployed in Coffee County - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

More unemployed in Coffee County

By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Just a few months ago, Billy Rish was one of 900 people layed off from his job at the Pilgrims Pride plant in Coffee County. Now another large plant, Wayne Farms has shut its doors in Douglas and 150 more people have been added to the unemployment pool.

"Now that pilgrims pride and Wayne Farm shut down there goes another plant leaving Douglas, who's picking up those jobs, where is Coffee County going as a future??" said former Pilgrim's Pride employee Billy Rish.

The Chamber of Commerce president says they have been working around the clock trying to replace the more than one thousand jobs lost at the two plants. "We do have a thirty two million dollar offer from Amick farms out of the Carolinas for the Pilgrims Pride plant however that offer is way under what Pilgrims Pride is demanding for their price but its not very far off from the latest appraisal," said JoAnne Lewis.

Officials say negotiating the deal has been somewhat frustrating.

"We've got a willing buyer who likes the plant and who wants to put their business right here in coffee county and wants to be able to replace those birds in the high houses and replace those jobs but then we have Pilgrims that's wanting a price that's way over the appraised value so what we've got to do is find some way to meet in the middle and that's our goal," said JoAnne Lewis.

In the meantime, they are working at bringing new business to the county. Tuesday chamber officials met with a prospect from Oklahoma looking at bringing a new manufacturing plant to the Douglas area.

Rish says he understand efforts are being made to bring jobs back to the county,but says going through a layoff is very hard to deal with. He suggests visiting the local career center and says don't let a layoff discourage you from pursuing your dream.

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