Poultry producer Perdue Farms Inc kept four of its processing plants and a distribution center in the northeast shut down for a second day, as monster storm Sandy brought heavy flooding along the coastal communities of the Delmarva Peninsula, a company spokeswoman said Tuesday.
Perdue said it closed down the facilities on Monday in preparation for the hurricane, which has killed 18 people and left a wide swath of the eastern United States struggling with epic flooding and massive power outages.
On Tuesday, as the storm system continued its trek inland, Perdue spokeswoman Julie de Young said two of the farmers who raise chickens for the company had experienced "extensive flooding" and that many of the other farmers were relying on generators to power their operations and ventilation equipment for the chicken houses.
But as word of storm damage to the nation's livestock sector began to trickle out Tuesday, the news appeared to be relatively positive.
Tyson Foods' poultry processing facility in Temperanceville, Virginia, was closed on Tuesday and is scheduled to reopen on Wednesday, said company spokesman Worth Sparkman. No damage was reported at any of Tyson's facilities within reach of the storm, he said.
In Landover, Maryland, Smithfield Foods, the largest pork producer and hog processor in the world, opted to keep its plant there shut on Tuesday because of the storm, but planned to resume operations on Wednesday, said Smithfield Foods' spokeswoman Kiera Lombardo.
The company did not say whether it experienced any storm damage to its facilities.
In Wyalusing, Pennsylvania, Cargill Inc said it ran its beef processing plant on Saturday to produce extra product to supply its customers during the brunt of the storm, Cargill spokesman Mike Martin said via an e-mail.
The company cut back the plant's operating hours on Monday, and Martin said the facility was back to normal operations by Tuesday. But he cautioned that "our response may be impacted by potential infrastructure damage to utilities, roads and other vital elements of the supply chain in the region."
Perdue Farms, which also had minor flooding at one of its plants, was hoping to reopen its distribution center by late Tuesday if the roadways were safe for drivers and employees to travel, de Young said.
The Delmarva Peninsula is a hub for poultry production, with about 15,000 people working in the chicken industry - from farmers raising birds to processing plant workers, according to data from the Delmarva Poultry Industry's website.