• Tyson says it will close pork processing plant in Iowa indefinitely dur

    From Bradley S. Sherman@21:1/5 to All on Thu Apr 23 12:29:18 2020
    XPost: alt.fan.states.iowa, alt.fan.rush-limbaugh, sac.politics
    XPost: alt.politics.usa.republican

    Tyson Foods said Wednesday it is suspending operations
    indefinitely at its pork processing plant in Waterloo, Iowa.

    The Arkansas company said it will offer COVID-19 testing to all
    2,800 employees at the plant while it's closed.

    The decision to close Tyson's largest pork processing facility
    came after employees at the company's plants in Waterloo and
    Dakota City, Nebraska, died from COVID-19.

    Chris Schwartz, a Black Hawk County supervisor, said the closure
    is "good news for the employees and for the health and well-
    being of the entire community."

    Schwartz said he hoped the action came "soon enough" to prevent
    more workers from becoming ill.

    More than 180 infections were confirmed among plant workers this
    week, The Associated Press reported, and officials expect that
    number to rise.

    Gov. Kim Reynolds said the state will help with employee
    testing, which she expected to begin Friday.

    Tyson said the Waterloo plant was running at reduced levels of
    production because of worker absenteeism. A decision to restart
    the plant depends on the outcome of the testing, among other
    factors, the company said.

    The Board of Health in Black Hawk County passed a resolution
    Tuesday that called for the plant to close. As of Wednesday, the
    county had a total of 379 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and two
    deaths. The board's resolution called the plant the "largest
    single source" of infection in the county.

    Schwartz said he believed temporarily closing the plant and
    conducting widespread testing of workers, along with taking
    added safety precautions, could prevent a larger disruption of
    the nation's food supply chain.

    Tyson's top concern has been for the safety of employees, said
    Steve Stouffer, group president of Tyson Fresh Meats, and that
    was "the reason we’ve implemented numerous safety measures
    during this challenging and unprecedented time.”

    “Despite our continued efforts to keep our people safe, while
    fulfilling our critical role of feeding American families, the
    combination of worker absenteeism, COVID-19 cases and community
    concerns has resulted in our decision to stop production,"
    Stouffer said in a statement.

    Tyson said employees will be paid while the plant is closed.

    Stouffer warned that closing the plant, which can process about
    19,500 hogs per day – about 4% of the U.S. pork processing
    capacity – would have "significant ramifications" beyond the

    Smithfield, a meatpacking company, closed a larger processing
    plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, near the Iowa border,
    because of a COVID-19 outbreak.

    The Waterloo plant "is part of a larger supply chain that
    includes hundreds of independent farmers, truckers, distributors
    and customers, including grocers,” Stouffer said.

    “It means the loss of a vital market outlet for farmers and
    further contributes to the disruption of the nation’s pork
    supply,” he said.

    Iowa experts warned this week that pork producers face the
    possibility of euthanizing thousands of pigs. The nation has
    lost 25% of its processing capacity as meatpacking plants slowed
    or closed during COVID-19.

    Donnelle Eller covers agriculture, the environment and energy
    for the Register. Reach her at deller@registermedia.com or 515-

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/04/22/coronavirus- tyson-closes-pork-processing-meat-packing-plant/3005152001/

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