Kark 4 News confirmed the announcement with Mayor Rick Elumbaugh Friday afternoon. Elumbaugh says the employees will be let go in July, when the company moves its frozen dinners line to Marshall, Missouri.
Elumbaugh says he received a heads up from the company last Thursday, and feared the Batesville plant would be closing entirely. The site employs 550 workers, so more than half will retain their jobs.
Of the 233 jobs being cut, Elumbaugh says 220 are hourly workers and the remaining 13 are supervisors and administrators.
The mayor confirmed the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services will be in town to help the affected workers find jobs. He also said the Arkansas Economic Development Commission is working to encourage businesses to locate in the community.
Elumbaugh hopes local businesses can absorb the laid off employees. He says there are two other poultry plants in the city; one recently announced plans for expansion, and the other is hiring.
Elumbaugh also says Bad Boy Mowers and the White River Medical Center in Batesville have both announced major expansions in the last six months. Bad Boy Mower will be hiring an additional 150 employees, and the hospital is adding 275.
A call to ConAgra Foods, based in aNebraska, was not immediately returned. This month, the company announced the acquisition of Odom's Tennessee Pride, including a location in Little Rock. A news release says ConAgra was expanding its frozen breakfast portfolio.
ConAgra is a Fortune 500 company, and claims to have its product in 97 percent of American households. The company employs 24,000 people, and sells 13,000,000 packages of food daily. Its brands include: Banquet, Chef Boyardee, Healthy Choice, Hunt's, and Marie Calender's.