Bunge Vidalia unaffected by recent cuts

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 3, 2000

VIDALIA – Bunge Corp.’s Vidalia grain elevator facility will not be affected at all by the closing of the company’s Vicksburg processing facility, according to one of the company’s top officials.

The Vicksburg plant processed soybean meal and oil, said Phillippe de Laperouse, director of business development for the St. Louis-based corporation.

&uot;We had hoped that soybean product demand would improve during the course of the year, but this does not appear to be the case,&uot; said Charlie Bussey, general manager of Bunge’s Soybean Processing Division.

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&uot;The reason for the shutdown was a slowdown in the market for soybean meal, in the United States as well but particularly in the foreign market,&uot;&160;de Laperouse said.

&uot;But there is a continued demand for the raw ingredients.&uot;

Other than to say the Vicksburg facility &uot;was a completely different department from us,&uot; Lane Morse, manager of the Vidalia elevators, would not comment, instead referring calls to the company’s district office.

Cutbacks at the Vidalia facility would not have affected business at the Natchez port to any great extent, said Port Authority Director Pat Murphy.

&uot;We’ve offloaded barges a few times for (Bunge) during the past couple of years, but nothing you could count on&uot; as a regular source of income, Murphy said. &uot;It wouldn’t have affected us one way or the other.&uot;

Bunge Corp. first announced layoffs in February for 72 of Vicksburg plant’s 95-member workforce, and only a few employees had been working at the plant since April, according to the Associated Press.

Despite the Vicksburg closing, Bunge’s grain elevators in Vicksburg and Madison Parish will remain open, according to company officials.