Food processing group Cargill, Inc. has closed its beef harvest facility Milwaukee, Wisconsin, effective from August 1, 2014.
The company said that it was ending operations at the plant primarily because of diminished cattle supply, which has been brought about by producers retaining cattle for herd expansion.
Cargill has owned the beef plant since 2001. It has a processing capacity of 1,300 to 1,400 animals daily.
The facility employed more than 600 people. For the time being, the ground beef plant at the site will remain open to meet customer needs, with approximately 200 employees.
Cargill's six other U.S. beef harvest plants will continue operating as normal and the company pledged to help employees in Milwaukee relocate to jobs at other company locations in the region. Further support for affected employees will include a job fair in Milwaukee this week.
The decision to close the Milwaukee beef plant was made after the company conducted an 18-month-long analysis of the region's cattle supply and examined all other possible options, according to John Keating, president of Cargill Beef.
"The harsh reality is that the U.S. beef cattle herd is at its lowest level since 1951, with any significant herd expansion being years away," he added.
Cargill's six remaining U.S. beef processing plants are located in California, Texas, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska and Pennsylvania.