Pilgrim’s Pride investing in several East Texas cities for COVID-19 response

Pilgrim’s Pride investing in several East Texas cities for COVID-19 response
Lufkin Pilgrim's Pride (Source: KTRE)

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Pilgrim’s Pride and JBS USA, its parent company, announced on Thursday that they will be investing $6.5 million in Texas to help communities with JBS or Pilgrim’s plants - Cactus, Lufkin, Mt. Pleasant, Nacogdoches, and Waco - respond to coronavirus and invest in the future.

The investment is designed to build on ongoing sustainability and social responsibility efforts, and it is part of a $50 million national initiative called Hometown Strong, according to a press release.

“It’s very important to us that we make lasting investments to benefit our team members and our neighbors,” Tim Schellpeper, the president of JBS USA Fed Beef, which includes the beef production facility in Cactus, said in the press release. “We are humbled to partner with community leaders to ensure our contributions will make a difference now and in the future.”

“Our success as a company is dependent on the success of the communities where we live and work,” Fabio Sandri, the Pilgrim’s Pride interim president and CEO, said in the press release. “We want to be a good neighbor, and we believe this is an opportunity to move our hometowns forward in a positive way.”

According to the press release, JBS US And Pilgrim’s Pride will team up with local officials and community leaders in Cactus, Lufkin, Mt. Pleasant, Nacogdoches, and Waco to identify investment projects to find investment projects that will strengthen the towns and communities where company employees live and work.

“Thanks to the JBS USA and Pilgrim’s Hometown Strong initiative, Texas will have even more support and greater access to crucial resources as we respond to COVID-19,” said Gov. Greg Abbott. “This $6.5 million investment will help strengthen community infrastructure, provide additional COVID-19 response and relief resources, and help alleviate food insecurity. I am grateful to JBS USA and Pilgrim’s for their commitment to supporting their hard-working employees, as well as their communities.”

Combined, JBS USA and Pilgrim’s Pride employ almost 10,000 people in the state of Texas. The two companies also pay producers and growers more than $2.1 billion a year to support the chicken production and prepared-foods facilities in Lufkin, Mt. Pleasant, Nacogdoches, and Waco and a beef production facility in Cactus.

JBS and Pilgrim’s facilities in Texas have an annual payroll of more than $372, the press release stated. They have also contributed more than $326 in capital investments over the past five years.

“Nationally, the $50 million investment - one of the largest of its kind being made - will include donations to alleviate food insecurity, strengthen long-term community infrastructure and well-being, and support COVID-19 emergency response and relief efforts,” the press release stated. “All funds will be committed by the end of the year.”

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