Cargill Meat Solutions buys Willow Brook Foods

by Bryan Salvage
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WICHITA, KAS. ― Cargill Meat Solutions has acquired certain assets of Willow Brook Foods, a turkey processor. The transaction includes Willow Brook’s operations in Springfield, Mo., as well as the Albert Lea, Minn., cooked meats operation, known as Schweigert Foods. Cargill also acquired Willow Brook’s brands.

"High feed and energy-related costs have made it difficult for Willow Brook to continue operating," said Mike Briggs, president of Willow Brook Foods.

In the next four to six months, Cargill plans to relocate the turkey processing operations from Willow Brook facilities in Springfield to its plants in California, Mo., and Springdale, Ark. The two Springfield plants, which employ about 780 people, will then be closed.

"Closing the two Springfield plants is a difficult decision," said John O’Carroll, president of Cargill Value Added Meats. "But we are encouraging Springfield employees to apply for jobs at C.V.A.M.’s facilities, including the plants in California, Mo., and Springdale, Ark., and we will offer relocation packages."

Willow Brook’s brand names include Willow Brook, Kettle Fried, Lifestyle Premium Deli, Gourmet Recipe, Harvest Provisions, Sunday House, and Schweigert.

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