Iowa town with 5,000 residents to lose 450 jobs

Cherokee, Iowa
Cherokee, Iowa is located in Cherokee County in western Iowa. — map data via Google

When Tyson Foods announced on Friday, July 25 that it will discontinue operations at three facilities across the U.S. — one of which is located in Cherokee, Iowa — the company’s news release came with a rather innocuous headline: “Tyson Foods Activates Plan to Improve Prepared Foods Performance.”

Strip away the shareholder language, and the reality is much more grim. The closure of the Tyson Plant in Cherokee, a town with just over 5,000 residents, will result in the loss of 450 jobs — nearly a tenth of the town’s total population.

Tyson Foods offers some explanation:

“This is a very difficult decision since it affects the lives of our team members and their families,” said Donnie King, president, prepared foods, customer and consumer solutions for Tyson Foods. “However, these plants have been struggling financially. After long and careful consideration, we’ve concluded it no longer makes business sense to keep them open.”

As far as how the town will cope with the facility’s closure, local business owners and residents seem to be at a loss. Cherokee Mayor Mark Murphy said he was stunned by the news, the Sioux City Journal reports:

“We’ll do everything we can with our chamber of commerce and other entities to try and maintain as many people in the city as possible and ensure new jobs so we can hopefully keep them here,” he said. — via the Sioux City Journal

The Cherokee facility will close effective Sept. 27, according to Tyson Foods. The two other facilities, based in New York and New Mexico, are expected to close in 2015, resulting in the loss of 300 and 200 jobs, respectively.

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