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Wayne Farms plant in Laurel, Miss, to lay off 500

LAUREL — A Georgia-based poultry company says its Laurel, Mississippi, plant will close its deboning lines and lay off about 500 workers by the end of June.

Wayne Farms LLC of Oakwood, Georgia, said in a news release that one customer has contracted for the entire plant’s output, but wants only whole birds.

Spokesman Frank Singleton said in a telephone interview that about 200 workers will remain at the plant, which processes about 650,000 birds a week. He says the contract runs through 2018.

He says he’s not sure when the first layoffs will come.

The contract won’t affect Wayne Farms’ 10 other plants: one each in North Carolina, Georgia and Arkansas and seven in Alabama.

Singleton says some of the Laurel workers may be able to move to other plants.

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