Cargill officials have announced that they will idle the Plainview beef processing facility at the close of business on Feb.1, 2013. They are making the plant idle due to the tight cattle supply from years of drought that have affected the area.
The approximately 2,000 employees will receive company support as well as assistance in finding available positions at other Cargill facilities.
"The decision to idle our Plainview beef processing plant was a difficult and painful one to make and was made only after we conducted an exhaustive analysis of the regional cattle supply and processing capacity situation in North America," said John Keating, president of Cargill Beef, based in Wichita, Kan. "While idling a major beef plant is unfortunate because of the resulting layoff of good people, which impacts their families and the community of Plainview, we were compelled to make a decision that would reduce the strain created on our beef business by the reduced cattle supply. The U.S. cattle herd is at its lowest level since 1952. Increased feed costs resulting from the prolonged drought, combined with herd liquidations by cattle ranchers, are severely and adversely contributing to the challenging business conditions we face as an industry. Our preference would have been not to idle a plant."
Cargill's decision to idle the facility is in an effort to preserve the infrastructure of the plant for a possible reopening. However, the company does not expect the cattle population to increase significantly for years to come.