Processing Magazine

Tyson Foods Cuts 1,500 Jobs in Kansas

February 11, 2008
According to the Associated Press, Tyson Foods Inc., the world''s largest meat company, said recently it would end beef slaughtering at its Emporia plant, cutting about 1,500 jobs, or more than half its work force at the facility.

The cuts were a response to overcapacity at slaughter houses and shifting of production to western Kansas from eastern, where the Emporia plant is located. The plant has been part of Tyson Foods since the company''s purchase of IBP Inc. in 2001, said Dick Bond, president and CEO of Tyson Foods.

Beef slaughter operations at the Emporia plant, which has about 2,400 employees, will end within the next few weeks, the Springdale, Ark.-based company said. The company will continue to use the Emporia facility as a cold storage and distribution warehouse and will process ground beef there.

Bond also said cattle production had moved from eastern Kansas, where Emporia is located, to western Kansas in the last few decades.

Tyson also said the company didn''t see signs of growth in the fed cattle supply over the next two to three years, and that high grain prices spurred by the demand for corn-based ethanol also contributed to their decision to cut jobs in Emporia.

Jim Lochner, senior group vice president of Tyson Fresh Meats, said in the release that by making the cuts in Emporia, the company would be able to send more cattle to other more strategically located facilities.

Emporia has about 30,000 residents and is located about 120 miles southwest of Kansas City, Mo.