WASHINGTON – United States Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, announced today that she will hold a field hearing in Shreveport, La., on April 14th to look into the impact of manufacturing closures on local small businesses. Last year, the International Paper mill in Bastrop closed, resulting in 550 layoffs. This month, Pilgrim’s Pride announced it would suspend operations in Farmerville, Choudrant, Athens and Arcadia, impacting 1,294 jobs. Overall, north Louisiana manufacturing plant closures have cost the region more than 3,000 direct jobs in the last year alone.
“Our communities and small businesses in north Louisiana are suffering right now as a result of recent plant closures,” Sen. Landrieu said. “This region has seen tough times before and knows firsthand how plant closures impact not just the workers but also the community as a whole. I look forward to hearing directly from my constituents who have fallen victim to economic factors beyond their control. Specifically, I will use this hearing to determine the impact that plant closures have on local small businesses, the progress of federal assistance to areas impacted by the closures and what we can do to better marshal federal resources to assist small businesses struggling to keep their doors open.
“These closures are hurting Louisiana businesses statewide, affecting suppliers, family farms, restaurants and other related businesses,” Sen. Landrieu said. “There is no silver bullet to solve these economic problems overnight, but this hearing should start the dialogue on how to better coordinate federal, state and local efforts. I believe this is an important first step not just for north Louisiana, but also for other communities around the country that are facing similar manufacturing closures.”
On her trip, Sen. Landrieu will tour areas of north Louisiana that have experienced plant closures before heading to Shreveport for the afternoon hearing. Witnesses will include local, state and federal officials. A complete witness list and additional details will be available as the hearing nears.