Cargill will idle its Planview, Texas, beef processing facility in response to dwindling cattle supply brought on by years of drought in Texas and surrounding states, the company announced Thursday.
The facility, which employs approximately 2,000 people, will close on Feb. 1.
“The decision to idle our Plainview beef processing plant was a difficult and painful one to make and was made only after we conducted an exhaustive analysis of the regional cattle supply and processing capacity situation in North America,” said John Keating, president of Cargill Beef, based in Wichita, Kan.
“While idling a major beef plant is unfortunate because of the resulting layoff of good people, which impacts their families and the community of Plainview, we were compelled to make a decision that would reduce the strain created on our beef business by the reduced cattle supply.”
According to Keating, the U.S. cattle herd is at its lowest level since 1952.
The company’s remaining beef cattle processing plants in the region, at Friona, Texas; Dodge City, Kan. and Fort Morgan, Colo., will receive cattle that were previously destined for processing at Plainview. The company’s regional beef facilities at Fresno, Calif.; Milwaukee, Wis.; and Wyalusing, Pa., as well as its beef plant in Schuyler, Neb., and two beef plants in Canada, are unaffected.
The plan to idle Cargill’s Plainview facility includes measures for preserving its infrastructure for potential reopening if the U.S. cattle herd rebounds and requires additional processing capacity. However, Cargill does not expect the U.S. cattle herd to significantly increase in size for a number of years.