Tyson moves some case-ready operations south

by Bryan Salvage
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SPRINGDALE, ARK. – In a move that will result in the elimination of about 480 jobs at its Council Bluffs, Iowa plant, Tyson Foods Inc. plans to consolidate some of that facility’s case-ready beef and pork production to its facilities in Goodlettsville, Tenn., and Sherman, Texas. According to a company statement, the production shift is slated for mid-March and is being made to address growing demand for its case-ready products in the Southern part of the U.S. and to move operations closer to its customer base. The move eliminates a portion of the second-shift, case-ready production at the Iowa plant, which currently employs approximately 1,300 workers.

Gary Sheneman, senior vice president of case-ready beef and pork for Tyson, said the company’s case-ready business is operating successfully and it must continue to control costs and improve efficiencies.

“We believe shifting some production from Council Bluffs to our other plants is the right thing to do for our overall business, which continues to grow and diversify its customer base,” he adds. “The unfortunate downside is the impact on some of our employees.”

Tyson said the Iowa plant will continue operating as part of its case-ready business and officials haven’t ruled out reinstating production there in the future.

“If enough additional case-ready business develops in the Midwest, we’ll consider reinstating the production we’re suspending at Council Bluffs,” Mr. Sheneman said.

Tyson Fresh Meats, formerly known as IBP inc., began a small-scale, case-ready operation at Council Bluffs in 1999. Production at Council Bluffs subsequently grew, and in 2001 the company opened a case-ready plant in Goodlettsville. The Sherman plant began operations in 2006.
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