Tyson closes Denison, Iowa, beef plant

by MEAT+POULTRY staff
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SPRINGDALE, Ark. – When Tyson Foods Inc. announced the expansion of its beef-processing facility in Dakota City, Neb., in 2012, there were plenty of reasons to believe the company’s aging beef plant in Denison, Iowa, would close shortly thereafter. A dwindling cattle herd, widespread drought and rising production costs for cattle led other competing companies to close beef operations between 2012 and 2014, which allowed Tyson’s Denison plant and its 400 workers to remain open for business. However, tight cattle supplies ultimately led to the Aug. 14 announcement by Tyson Fresh Meats officials to announce the closure of the Denison plant, effective immediately.

A reduction in production capacity of its beef operations in response to today’s market conditions was the reason behind the decision to close the plant, which opened in 1961 as part of Iowa Beef Packers. Tyson acquired the plant when it purchased IBP in 2001.

Shuttering the beef slaughtering facility was difficult, according to Steve Stouffer, president of Tyson Fresh Meats, a subsidiary of Tyson Foods.

“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,” Stouffer said. “However, the realities of the beef business have changed and we must continue to change with it to remain successful.”

Because of a production-capacity glut in the region around Iowa, Tyson officials believe removing Denison from the system will ensure the success of the company’s remaining beef operations. Approximately 20 employees will continue working at the by-product operation at the Denison plant, where other Tyson plants will send products for rendering.

Tyson Fresh Meats’ is required by law to provide the 400 employees at the Denison plant 60 days of pay and it is also encouraging workers to apply for positions at its other facilities. Tyson’s other beef plants are located in Amarillo, Texas; Dakota City, Neb.; Finney County, Kan.; Joslin, Ill.; Lexington, Neb. and Pasco, Wash.

This past March, Tyson announced the closure of its poultry-processing plant in Buena Vista, Ga., and eliminated the third shift at its Dawson, Ga., processing plant, which eliminated approximately 260 jobs.
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