Citizens, residents organize against new Tyson facility in Kansas
Sept. 13, 2017
by MEAT+POULTRY Staff
Protesters continue to oppose Tyson's plan to build a plant in Tonganoxie, Kansas.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A coalition calling itself “a group of committed Leavenworth County and Tonganoxie citizens that are opposed to building the Tyson plant near Tonganoxie,” has launched a website (www.nototyson.com
) as part of a grassroots effort, known as Citizens Against Project Sunset (CAPS). The effort also includes a growing social media campaign on Facebook that has about 4,700 members to date. The group is opposing plans announced on Sept. 5 by Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson Foods Inc.
to build a $320 million poultry complex in Leavenworth County, Kansas, just south of the city limits of Tonganoxie, Kansas.
When announced, Tyson officials touted the economic benefits the complex, which includes a feed mill, hatchery and processing plant, would bring to the area, including more than 1,600 jobs.
“We believe eastern Kansas is the right location because of the availability of grain and labor, as well as access to our nationwide customer base that is accessible through the state’s top-notch transportation network,” said Doug Ramsey, group president of Poultry for Tyson Foods, when the announcement was made.
The recently launched website includes a link for donations to establish a legal fund on behalf of area residents. According to the site, “We will need funds to get the word out with mailers and brochures and ads.” It also includes information on how and where local residents can sign a petition against the project.
CAPS organizers are organizing a series of meetings and rallies to voice concerns about how the Tyson project could negatively impact the community. A Sept. 9 rally in the city reportedly drew as many as 1,000 people, hundreds of whom left with yard signs that read: “No Tyson in Tongie.”
The website also lists a number of upcoming city- and county-based events to rally support for its cause, including a Sept. 12 board meeting in Lenexa, Kansas, at the city’s water utilities provider, WaterOne. Several other events listed include a county planning and zoning meeting on Sept. 13; a town hall meeting on Sept. 15 and a “Photo event fundraiser” on Sept. 16.
Reasons for opposition to building the poultry complex in the area include concerns about its impact on property values, environmental and the impact on the community’s infrastructure. Also noted as a reason for opposing development of the complex, is that it isn’t needed. According to the website: “Our community is a small, lovely bedroom community which can wait and be picky about the types of community development it seeks to attract.”