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Tyson Foods Will Shut Down Perry, Iowa, Pork Processing Plant

March 12, 2024
Meat processor is still trying to optimize its operations and will close the facility, which employs nearly 1,300 workers.

According to several news reports, Tyson Foods will close its Tyson Fresh Meats pork processing plant in Perry, Iowa, at the end of June this year — the latest move in the meat processor’s efforts to “optimize the efficiency” of its operations, according to a statement from a Tyson spokesperson shared by news outlets.

As most know by now, Tyson spent most of 2023 on a roller coaster ride featuring highs and lows — which included the closure of six chicken plants, and the workforce fallout following the consolidation of its corporate offices to the global headquarters in Springdale, Ark., leading to the layoff of hundreds of corporate employees who declined to relocate from Dakota Dunes, S.D., corporate offices.

Where pork was concerned, however, the impact of 2023 hadn’t reached plant-closure levels to this point. Tyson did acquire Williams Sausage in May 2023 and opened a brand new bacon-processing plant in Bowling Green, Ky., this past January, but those two positives were more adjacent as prepared foods-type business moves. Of course, with the shutdown of two case-ready plants in November 2023, maybe the writing was on the wall that changes would be coming for the company’s massive packinghouses. Perry slaughtered some 9,000 hogs per day, according to reports, and that’s where experts see the industry taking a big hit currently.

The Perry plant, which reportedly employs nearly 1,300 workers, was built in 1962 by the Iowa Pork Co., purchased by Oscar Mayer Inc. in 1965, and nearly shut down in 1988. That’s when IBP Inc. swooped in to buy and save it from being mothballed. IBP was acquired by Tyson Foods in 2001 and effectively became what is today Tyson Fresh Meats’ beef and pork business — which had many of its corporate leadership in Dakota Dunes.

Tyson reportedly had made a $44 million upgrade to the plant about six years ago. It said it would encourage its Perry employees to apply at other Tyson facilities, including those still in operation across Iowa.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.

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