Tyson Foods to close Perry, Iowa pork processing plant

Tyson Foods has announced it’s permanently closing its pork packing plant in Perry, Iowa and an ag economist says he was surprised by the move.

Allendale chief strategist Rich Nelson tells Brownfield most of Tyson’s financial issues have dealt with beef processing while pork has been profitable.

“In the fourth quarter, they had a $206 million loss,” Nelson said. “That was an issue for the beef segments. They actually made money in the pork segment.”

Nearly 1,300 workers will lose their jobs as a result of the closure, which is set to go into effect in late June, officials said.

Nelson says he’s concerned about the status of beef packing facilities moving forward.

“Consistent declines in the US cattle herd will be seen and the beef processors have really shot themselves in the foot with general increases in capacity occurring at the exact same time,” Nelson said. “Now on the pork side, I personally don’t see a wave of pork plants closing.”

In a press call on Tuesday, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa said he was disappointed with Tyson’s decision and says at this point there are more questions than answers.

“I don’t have much of an explanation from Tyson why the plant was shut down,” Grassley said, “and we’re hearing from producers that it’s a hardship where else they’re going to have to send their livestock for slaughter.”

The Perry plant had a packing capacity of 8,250 head.

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