"This is a very difficult decision since it affects the lives of our team members and their families," said Donnie King, president, prepared foods, customer and consumer solutions for Tyson Foods. "However, these plants have been struggling financially. After long and careful consideration, we've concluded it no longer makes business sense to keep them open."
Tyson's Cherokee, Iowa, plant will close effective Sept. 27, while the company's Buffalo, NY, and Santa Teresa, NM, plants are expected to close during the first half of calendar 2015. The decision will affect approximately 950 individuals, including 450 at Cherokee, 300 at Buffalo and 200 at Santa Teresa.
The company said factors contributing to the decision to close the facilities included changing product needs, the age of the Cherokee facility and the prohibitive cost of renovations on the plant, and the distance between Midwest raw material suppliers and the Buffalo and Santa Teresa plants. Tyson plans to shift production and equipment to other cost-efficient facilities at other locations.
The three plants have been part of Tyson Foods since 2001, when the company acquired IBP inc. The Cherokee plant, which Tyson Foods leases, currently makes deli meats, hams, Canadian bacon and hot dogs. The Buffalo facility produces hot dogs, sausage and hams. The Santa Teresa plant produces a variety of cooked products including dinner meats, diced ham and roast beef.