Tyson to renovate beef plant, may close another

by Keith Nunes
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DAKOTA CITY, NEB. – Tyson Foods, Inc. has announced plans to renovate its beef processing facility in Dakota City. Once the project is complete, sometime in mid-2013, the company said it may close a smaller beef processing facility located in Denison, Iowa.

Tyson Foods said the multi-million dollar project will improve parts of the Dakota City facility that were built nearly 50 years ago. Parts of the facility scheduled to be renovated include the carcass cooler, rendering, box handling operations, employee lockers and the employee cafeteria.

“Dakota City is our flagship plant and this investment means we expect it to continue to be one of our top performers and an important market outlet for the region’s cattle producers,” said Noel White, senior group vice-president of Tyson Fresh Meats, a business unit of Tyson Foods. “The improvements will help optimize the value of the plant’s product mix for domestic and international customers and make the plant even more cost competitive.”

The project will increase the facility’s cattle slaughter capacity and add approximately 200 production jobs.

The company said, however, that it does not expect the project to increase the company’s overall beef slaughtering capacity. The Dakota City plant no longer will need a supplemental supply of beef carcasses from the company’s satellite beef plant in Denison. That means the Denison facility, which employs approximately 400 people, may close sometime in 2013.

“It’s difficult to consider the possibility of closing our Denison plant, given the impact on our people, the plant’s long history in the meat industry and the tremendous support we’ve received from the community over the years,” said Mr. White. “However, unless area cattle supplies increase significantly or we find an alternative use for the facility, it may make economic sense to discontinue operations there next year.”

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