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Blizzard Conditions Strand Workers at Meat Plants in Western Kansas

Jan. 9, 2024
Local news reports say workers were unable to leave Tyson and Cargill plants late Monday as a winter storm caused roads out of the facilities to be blocked and hazardous.

According to at least one news report and other news outlets’ social media accounts, the winter storm that has hit the Great Plains (and is currently tracking east of the Mississippi through the Gulf Coast states and the Midwest), caused meat plant workers at the Tyson Foods plant in Holcomb, Kan., to be stranded at the plant overnight, with similar challenges and issues at the Cargill Meat Solutions plant in Dodge City, Kan.

KSN.com carried a news report on the Tyson Fresh Meats plant in Holcomb, citing a worker claiming that workers attempted to leave the facility en masse at the end of their work shift Monday, but the roads leading out of the plant hadn’t been cleared well enough, and drivers began to leave their vehicles and return to the plant for shelter from the storm.

As of 10:15 p.m. local time last night, workers were still stuck at the plant, with many people planning to stay there until morning, the report said. Management was attempting to clear the main roads leading out of the plant, the report said.

Meanwhile, KAKE News’ Facebook page posted at 9:31 p.m. Monday that Ford and Finney County sheriff offices reported “dozens of cars stranded at Cargill and Tyson plants.” Commenters on the post ripped the companies for poor planning, with some sharing (unverified) stories of issues they had being stranded, problems with power at the plants and photos as well.

Tyson and Cargill had not commented to either news outlet at the time that this was published, and the news outlets in Kansas were still reporting that many of the highways in western Kansas were still closed to traffic and theoretically not yet cleared.

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.