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Hard times at Heifer.

You're no doubt aware by now of Heifer International's plans to cut jobs by June 30, the end of its fiscal year. The question is: How many?

According to a source at the nonprofit, the percentage of staff members in danger of losing their jobs may be in the double digits, even "up to a third." Most of those cuts would come among Heifer staff in the United States, the source said. Heifer operated in 53 countries or provinces and 27 U.S. states as of last year.

Asked about those figures, Dale Ingrain, a spokesman for the nonprofit, said, "We have no numbers now. We will be providing those as we know them, but anything right now would be speculative."

Heifer has about 340 employees in the United States with about 240 of those in central Arkansas, most at the Little Rock campus downtown.

Heifer told employees in January that revenue was down 11.5 percent compared with projections, but your "Whispers" staff has heard the shortfall has accelerated. Ingrain would say only that Heifer was continuing to "monitor" the situation.

In addition to the layoffs, top executives took a 3 percent pay cut and a hiring freeze was instituted.

Despite the economic turmoil necessitating the budget-slashing measures, the Heifer Village education center is on track to open June 5, Ingram said. Slowing donations to capital programs helped lead Heifer to ask the Little Rock Board of Directors last fall to facilitate a $20 million bond issue to complete the center and refinance its headquarters, which opened in 2006.
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Title Annotation:Whispers
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Apr 6, 2009
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