Tyson Foods Inc is closing two more processing plants as it rounds out a tough year mired with pricing challenges and slow consumer demand.
The meat giant will shutter two of its case-ready, value-added production facilities in Columbia, South Carolina, and Jacksonville, Florida, a spokesperson confirmed in an email Thursday. The decision adds to the growing number of Tyson layoffs and plant closures this year.
Approximately 219 employees will be affected from the factory closing in Florida, according to a recent WARN filing. No further details were available for the South Carolina facility. A spokesperson said Tyson was “reallocating resources to operate more efficiently.”
Over the past year, Tyson and other meat companies have struggled with volatile prices and slow consumer demand, resulting in significant losses and cost-cutting measures to shore up their businesses.
The two latest closures add to the six chicken plants Tyson shuttered this year, as well as significant layoffs at a poultry complex in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, last month.
A spokesperson said the company will make efforts to support their workers, offering opportunities at other locations and partnering with state and local officials to provide any additional resources.
“We understand the impact of this decision on our team members,” the spokesperson said. “With a focus on optimizing our operational footprint, we are reallocating resources to operate as efficiently as possible, while maintaining ample capacity to serve our customers.”
A mix of challenges have spelled trouble for the U.S. industry this year, including low chicken prices, high input costs and supply pressures that have raised the cost of beef and pork. This has translated to consecutive quarterly losses for JBS SA, Smithfield parent WH Group and Tyson.
As meat sales slowed, Tyson reported an operating loss of $49 million in the second quarter, followed by a loss of $350 million in the third quarter. About 600 workers were affected by Tyson’s six chicken plant closures, in addition to an estimated 250 workers laid off in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.
The closure in South Carolina marks the second time the plant has been idled, the first being in 2020, according to local news reports. In 2021, Tyson said it planned to invest $55 million into the location to reopen the plant and transform the plant into a case-ready facility, employing 330 people. The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce declined to immediately respond to a request about the closure.
The case-ready meat plant in Florida is expected to close Jan. 8, affecting 219 workers with roles ranging from managers and maintenance to butchers and food handlers, according to details in the WARN filing.
The Springdale, Arkansas-based company is scheduled to release its fourth quarter and full-year earnings results on Nov. 13.