Tyson Foods, one of the world’s largest food producers, announced Friday that it will permanently cease beef operations at its plant in Denison, Iowa due to “a continued lack of available cattle.”
400 workers will lose their jobs as a result — a sobering blow for the western Iowa town with just over 8,000 residents.
“This was a very difficult decision because it affects the lives of our people, their families and a community that has supported this plant for more than 50 years,” said Tyson Fresh Meats President Steve Stouffer in a statement released Friday.
Stouffer says the company is closing the western Iowa plant because cattle supply in the region is “tight,” which has led to an excess of beef production capacities.
Denison Mayor Brad Bonner says the plant’s closure came as “quite a shock,” according to the Des Moines Register, which notes that Tyson had previously been the town’s second largest employer. Bonner told the paper that the decision is unfortunate, “but it’s not the end of Denison.”
Laid-off workers will receive 60 days of pay and have opportuntities to apply for other jobs at other Tyson locations. The Denison plant will remain functional in order to process by-products from other Tyson locations, and will employ about 20 workers.
The Denison meat plant was originally opened in 1961 by Iowa Beef Packers before being acquired by Tyson Foods in 2001.