Tyson Foods announced it’s closing two of its plants in Independence and Oelwein. Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson says the closings are part of a plan to add bacon production at its Cherokee plant. Mickelson says they’re making some strategic changes to strengthen the processed meat business. He says they’ll spend more than 30-million dollars to add the bacon production, but will close the Independence and Oelwein facilities that make chopped ham and slice luncheon meat. He says the two plants will close March 17th, impacting as 400 workers. He say the Independence and Oelwein plants are closing due to their age. The property will be put up for sale and all of the equipment will be transferred to other facilities.
Mickelson says the transition will result in some short-term disruptions in Cherokee. He says the move to bacon production will require them to shift ham production from Cherokee to plants in Missouri and New York. Mickelson says that’ll reduce the 650 workforce temporarily at Cherokee by 50, but they’ll add 70 jobs when bacon production begins. Tyson says the closures of Independence and Oelwein will save the company between 15 and 20-million dollars a year.