The president of the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association says he’s not surprised by last Friday’s announcement that Tyson Foods is planning to permanently close its beef operation in Denison, eliminating up to 400 workers.
Phil Reemtsma of DeWitt says the news is disappointing but it’s not unexpected. “They’ve had those discussions for a couple of years,” Reemtsma says. “The down side of it is the loss of jobs, of course, but I don’t know that it will have a big impact on cattle prices. Certainly, we would like that plant to stay open, if possible. That would be better than closing it.”
Tyson officials say the cattle supply is tight and there’s an excess of beef production in the region, while the move to end operations at Denison will put the rest of the beef business in a better position for future success.
Tyson has operated the plant in Denison since 2001. It was opened by IBP in 1961. Tyson operates eight beef plants in six states. Denison was the only “slaughter-only” facility. Reemstma says he expects producers in the region will take their cattle to another Tyson plant in Nebraska. “My guess would be that a lot of the cattle that were going to Denison will probably be going to Dakota City,” Reemstma says. “It’s a little bit further for transportation costs but I’m guessing that’s what will happen. People will continue to sell to Tyson but instead of taking them to Denison, they’ll probably end up going to Dakota City.”
Tyson has about 4,000 employees at the packing plant in Dakota City, Nebraska. Last year, Cargill Incorporated — one of the biggest beef processors in the United States — said it was closing a Wisconsin beef plant that employs 600 workers due to tight cattle supplies.
(Reporting by Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)