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Trenton fifth grade student launches crusade to keep dad’s company in town

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TRENTON, Mo. -- On a beautiful, sunny spring afternoon you'd think 10-year-old Jillian Voorhies would be at the park with friends, at a movie or at home playing video games, but no so.

"I just started this because I wanted people to know what's going on, " said Jillian.

For the last 80 years, ConAgra Foods has been a top employer in the small town of 6,000 people. This week executives at the food production plant announced they intend to close the Trenton plant and move to Ohio.

"I just don't want that to happen and I hope they change their mind," said Jillian.

Jillian's worried because she knows if ConAgra leaves town, then her dad and more than 300 of his co-workers will lose their jobs.

"I don't want my dad or any of my friends' parents to lose their jobs. If that happens we may have to move and I don't want that to happen or see any of my friends leave town. It's just sad to think about, " added the fifth grader, who so far, has written two letters to executives at ConAgra Foods.

"My mom has worked really hard at that plant and I also do not want to leave my friends, if they close," said Lindsey Babcock, who also is a fifth grader at Trenton Middle School.

Meantime, ConAgra Foods executives say they intend to shut down and move the plant to Archbold, Ohio by June, 2018.

"Our hope is that we can work with ConAgra and come up with a solution that works for them and works for the community," said Ralph Boots, who's with the City of Trenton.

As for Jillian, who dreams of becoming a lawyer one day, she's crossing her fingers that ConAgra hears her plea and considers staying put in Trenton.

"I am hoping they stay or sell it to someone else and stay. I do plan to write a third letter," the fifth grader said with sad eyes.