Tyson Foods Inc., one of the world’s largest meat producers, has announced that it will close two chicken plants in Arkansas and Virginia on May 12, affecting nearly 1,700 workers.
The company said that the decision to shut down the plants in Van Buren, Arkansas, and Glen Allen, Virginia, was based on an annual review of its poultry business and a need to improve efficiency and profitability.
“Closing facilities is never easy because we know it affects team members and their families,” said Donnie King, president of poultry for Tyson Foods. “However, we must make tough decisions that enable us to operate more efficiently while continuing to meet customer expectations.”
The company said it will offer affected workers severance packages and assistance with finding new jobs. It will also work with local community leaders to find new owners for the plants.
The Van Buren plant employs 969 people and produces chicken products for food service customers. The Glen Allen plant employs 692 people and makes chicken nuggets and patties for retail customers.
Tyson Foods said that the closures will not affect its ability to supply chicken products to its customers. The company operates more than 100 facilities across the U.S. and employs about 139,000 people.
The closures come at a time when the poultry industry is facing several challenges, such as rising feed costs, labor shortages, animal welfare concerns, and consumer demand for more natural and organic products.
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