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Poultry processor closes Oklahoma facilities

Viswaprem Anbarasapandian
/
Unsplash

Cooks Venture is shutting down its operations and facilities in eastern Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas.

Two processing plants in Jay and Tahlequah are being shut down, along with six farms and plants in Arkansas. There were 511 employees at all locations combined.

Becki Farley, Mayor of Jay, said the city estimates around 200 people were employed at the facility in Jay.

“We’re saddened that we’d lose any business, but we’re more concerned about the folks that lost their jobs, especially at the holiday season,” Farley said.

The company breeds pasture-raised heirloom chickens and it produces regenerative agriculture systems. The company has been meeting with investors to get financing since September, but was unable to get money for operating expenses, according to a letter sent to employees.

“While we would have preferred to provide you with more notice, due to the unexpected and last-minute lack of financing for the Company’s continued operations, we were unable to do so,” company officials said in the letter.

Cooks Venture officials said in the letter it will take several weeks to shut down all the facilities completely. The closures will most likely be permanent.

Farley said the city is working with the Cherokee Nation and the Oklahoma Employment Securities Commission to help former workers apply for unemployment benefits and future job placement.

There will be a job fair at the City of Jay Community Center this Thursday.

“We are really just wanting them to be able to find jobs and land on their feet,” Farley said.

This report was produced by the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, a collaboration of public media organizations. Help support collaborative journalism by donating at the link at the top of this webpage.

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