Tyson Fresh Meats, a unit of Tyson Foods, Inc., said that beginning on Friday it will permanently end beef operations at its Denison, Iowa, plant because of "a continued lack of available cattle."
"This was a very difficult decision because it affects the lives of our people, their families and a community that has supported this plant for more than 50 years," Steve Stouffer, president of Tyson Fresh Meats, said in a statement. "However, the realities of the beef business have changed and we must continue to change with it to remain successful.
"The cattle supply is tight and there's an excess of beef production capacity in the region," he said. "We believe the move to cease beef operations at Denison will put the rest of our beef business in a better position for future success."
The by-product rendering system at the Denison plant will continue operations. It will process by-products from other Tyson locations and will employ approximately 20 people.
The 400 workers affected by the end of beef production at Denison are being given an opportunity to apply for jobs at other Tyson locations. In fact, the company is offering financial incentives to hourly workers who qualify for production openings at the company's Lexington, Neb., beef plant.
The Denison plant opened in 1961 as the first plant operated by Iowa Beef Packers, a start-up company that grew to become one of the world's leading beef processors. IBP was acquired by Tyson Foods in 2001 and renamed Tyson Fresh Meats.
Tyson Fresh Meats' other beef plants are located in Amarillo, Texas; Dakota City, Neb.; Finney County, Kan.; Joslin, Ill.; Lexington, Neb., and Pasco, Wash.