Dakota City plant upgrades may spur consolidation

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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DAKOTA CITY, Neb. – Improvements at the Dakota City beef plant may lead to the closure of another facility, according to an announcement from Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., a subsidiary of Tyson Foods.

The multi-million dollar project to upgrade technology and processes at the Dakota City plant will add roughly 200 production jobs and increase the number of cattle to be processed. This means the plant will no longer need supplemental beef supplies from the company's Denison, Iowa beef plant. The Denison facility may close sometime in 2013, Tyson said.

"It's difficult to consider the possibility of closing our Denison plant, given the impact on our people, the plant's long history in the meat industry and the tremendous support we've received from the community over the years," said Noel White, senior group vice president of Tyson Fresh Meats. "However, unless area cattle supplies increase significantly or we find an alternative use for the facility, it may make economic sense to discontinue operations there next year."

The Dakota City plant, which is expected to open by mid-2013, will feature improvements to the beef carcass cooler, rendering and box handling operations, Tyson said. The employee cafeteria and locker rooms also will be redone. Ergonomically designed processes and equipment will be incorporated into the slaughter area, which should help make some jobs less physically demanding.

“Dakota City is our flagship plant and this investment means we expect it to continue to be one of our top performers and an important market outlet for the region’s cattle producers,” White said. “The improvements will help optimize the value of the plant’s product mix for domestic and international customers and make the plant even more cost competitive.”

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