CALIFORNIA, Mo. – Cargill Meat Solutions announced it will eliminate the third shift at the company’s California, Mo.-based turkey-processing plant on Oct. 12.

“Approximately 82 positions are being eliminated, although some of the people impacted will be absorbed into positions in other parts of the plant,” said an emailed statement from Mike Martin, communications director for Cargill. “A total of approximately 60 people will be severed. Cargill will provide severance payments, outplacement support and other appropriate transitional support services.”

Reasons for eliminating the shift included rising feed costs, especially corn. Martin said feed accounts for approximately 70 percent of the cost of producing a turkey.

Transportation costs have also been on the rise along with fuel price increases, he said.

"As costs have increased, we’ve had to increase our prices, which have resulted in increased prices at the consumer level," Martin added. "As consumers experience increased food prices at the grocery store, their budgets are impacted and they have to make tough choices that result in decreased demand for meat."

The plant processes more than 6 million turkeys annually, and employed 500 workers before the layoffs. Cargill operates three other turkey processing facilities, in Virginia, Arkansas and Texas. Those operations were not impacted.

"Our preference is to be hiring people, or at least not laying them off, but the realities of the current economy have forced us to make this unpleasant decision," Martin said. "We are hopeful that the situation will reverse in the not-too-distant future, but we cannot predict when the economic volatility will stabilize."