Processing Magazine

Tyson selling two Alabama plants

March 27, 2007

Tyson Foods Inc., plans to sell two Alabama plants to Koch Foods Inc. as part of an effort to reduce its production of fresh poultry, according to the Associated Press. Terms were not disclosed. The plants, which together employ about 1,200 people, are in Ashland and Gadsden. Tyson said production at the Gadsden plant will be reduced before the sale is complete at the end of May and 400 of its 675 positions are to be eliminated. None of the positions at the Ashland plant are to be cut, the company said. The plants have each operated for more than 20 years. Tyson said many of the plant workers will be employed by Koch. Springdale-based Tyson said that as part of the sale, Koch Foods of Park Ridge, Ill., will also get a feed mill in Talladega, Ala., and hatcheries in Fair Knoll and Empire, also in Alabama. Tyson said that a fire at its operation in Heflin, Ala., which destroyed that poultry processing plant, led the company to assess its operation in Alabama. Koch is a longtime customer of the plants in Ashland and Heflin, and chicken from the Gadsden plant started going to Koch after the Heflin fire. The Gadsden plant has been operating at partial capacity since production was trimmed last year. After the sale, Tyson says it will have about 2,400 workers in Alabama. Tyson has 107,000 workers in more than 300 locations in the U.S. and abroad.