MILWAUKEE – Cargill plans to close the company's Milwaukee, Wis. beef harvest facility by Aug. 1. Approximately 600 employees will be affected.

In a statement, the company said producers are retaining cattle for herd expansion resulting in tight supplies of cattle. The ground-beef plant at the Milwaukee site will remain open. Cargill’s six other beef plants won't be affected by the harvest plant closure.

“Closing our Milwaukee beef plant is taking place only after we conducted an 18-month-long analysis of the region’s cattle supply and examined all other possible options,” said John Keating, president of Cargill Beef, Wichita, Kan. “It is unfortunate that we must close any beef plant because of the impact to good people, their families and the community. The harsh reality is that the US beef cattle herd is at its lowest level since 1951, with any significant herd expansion being years away.”

Employment opportunities at other Cargill locations in the region will be available to workers affected by the plant closure. Employees who relocate to positions at other Cargill facilities will receive assistance, while displaced employees will receive support including a job fair in Milwaukee the week of Aug. 4, according to Cargill.