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Farmland Thanks Community for Support During Fire.

Employees, Customers Are Top Priority

KANSAS CITY, Mo., July 10 /PRNewswire/ --

With the fire at Farmland's Albert Lea, Minn., pork-processing plant under control, the company's attentions continue to be assessing damage to the structure, communicating with employees and serving its customers.

Plant manager Ray Roberts said, "We are extremely thankful there were no injuries to our employees or the firefighters. We are grateful for the generous community support -- from the firefighters who worked for hours in the heat to control the blaze, to Salvation Army volunteers who brought food and drinks. The outpouring of support from Albert Lea and surrounding communities has just been overwhelming," said Roberts.

While a few areas of the facility are still smoldering and some hot spots remain, firefighters believe the fire is under control. Fire inspectors are expected to enter the facility to start their investigation by noon today. Structural analysis of the facility will begin in the next couple of days.

Farmland representatives met yesterday with union officials to discuss available services for employees. Meetings with Albert Lea Mayor Bob Haukoos, State Senator Grace Schwab and State Representative Dan Dorman, as well as U.S. Rep. Gil Gutknecht were also held yesterday to discuss support services available to employees.

A Farmland employee hot line has been established to provide information on an upcoming closed employee meeting and other pertinent information, 507-377-4200. Representatives from numerous community service organizations will be present at the meeting to help employees during this difficult time.

"We realize what's at stake for these employees. These are their lives we're dealing with," said Roberts. "We want to provide them with access to services that can make their lives a little easier during this very hard time."

Farmland has put contingency plans in place to transfer Albert Lea production to other Farmland plants. The fire will not impact the number of hogs processed by Farmland. "With an incident of this magnitude, there of course will be some interruption in business," said Jim Sbarro, Farmland Foods senior vice president, sales and marketing. "But we are confident we can continue to fulfill our customers' needs."

Farmland Industries, Inc., Kansas City, Mo., ( www.farmland.com ) is a diversified farmer-owned cooperative focused on meeting the needs of its local cooperative- and farmer-owners. Farmland and its joint venture partners supply local cooperatives with agricultural inputs, such as crop nutrients, crop protection products, petroleum products and animal feeds. As part of its farm-to-table mission, Farmland adds value to its farmer-owners' grain and livestock by processing and marketing high-quality grain, pork, beef and catfish products throughout the United States and in more than 60 countries.

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Publication:PR Newswire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 10, 2001
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