ConAgra layoffs 250 in Batesville

BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) – ConAgra Foods, Inc. has announced plans to lay off more than 200 employees from its Batesville plant.

According to a ConAgra spokesman, the company told employees Thursday that it expects to move production of frozen dinners to Marshall, Mo. Approximately 250 employees would be affected by the move.

The spokesman said the transition was necessary to manage costs and make operations as efficient as possible.

The layoffs are expected to take effect in July.

"We would love to keep those individuals (in Batesville)," said Mayor Rick Elumbaugh, "and hopefully we'll be able to work through this and everybody will keep a positive attitude."

Elumbaugh says he hopes recently announced expansions at the local hospital and Bad Boy Mowers can help the city recover more quickly, but longtime resident Lee Treadway worries of the effects to the local economy.

"I'm a seamstress," Treadway said. "We're going to lose money that they would pay us for altering their clothes. We're going to lose it. You know, it's not just the employee that loses out."

Treadway's husband worked at ConAgra nearly a decade, but she advises the current employees set to lose their jobs not to lose hope.

"Batesville will recover because we've been here a long, long time," Treadway said. "We will recover, but it's going to be hard. It's not a good thing."

In a press release, ConAgra Foods says its Batesville plant employs around 515 people, who have primarily produced Banquet and Kid Cuisine frozen dinners.

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