Word was breaking as the state agriculture commissioner released a statement saying a "firm offer" had been made by a California-based poultry company.
A Pilgrim's Pride spokesman said chief executive Don Jackson indicated any sale would have to be for far more than $40 million, of which the state was willing to pitch in half.
About 1,300 employees are expected to lose their jobs in the coming weeks.
In December, Pilgrim's Pride filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. It recently announced plans to idle three plants, including in Farmerville, to help cut costs.
Also Wednesday, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals proposed, in a letter to Gov. Bobby Jindal, converting the plant into a museum dedicated to "chicken empathy."
Jindal, in a statement, dismissed the idea.