An Iowa meatpacking plant will close its doors tomorrow (Friday). It’s just over a year since Iowa Quality Beef opened with fanfare and lots of new equipment in the once-abandoned Tama Pack. It was particularly welcome at the time the farmer-owned cooperative started the venture, as hundreds were still out of work in Tama because of the bitter tribal dispute that shut down the casino there. State-of-the-art slaughtering and safety equipment turned out to be no match for worries about Mad Cow, which operators blame for the slow sales of beef and too little work to keep the plant open. Though prices remain at all-time highs, 900 farmer-suppliers will be asked to find other markets for their animals, according to the news release from Iowa Quality Beef. And though IQB says it’s a temporary suspension, once the doors are locked Friday night and 540 employees go home there’s no indication when — or if — they might be called back to work again.
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