Tyson closes Logansport pork processing plant in response to rising COVID-19 cases

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LOGANSPORT, Ind. – Cass County Commissioners voted Wednesday to close the Tyson pork processing plant in Logansport due to the escalating number of COVID-19 cases among workers.

Tyson agreed to a 14-day voluntary closure for testing and contact tracing. The IndyStar reported that 146 employees had tested positive for COVID-19.

Production is expected to stop by Saturday. The plant employs more than 2,200.

From Tyson:

Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc., the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods, Inc. (NYSE: TSN), announced today that its Logansport, Ind., facility will voluntarily close while its more than 2,200 team members undergo testing. The company is working closely with the Cass County Health Department to conduct COVID-19 testing beginning as early as tomorrow.

The pork processing facility, which produces three million pounds of pork daily and helps support more than 250 independent family farmers from across nine states, suspended production for one day on April 20 for additional deep cleaning and sanitizing. Since then, the facility has been running at limited production and is expected to stop production on or before Saturday, April 25.

In a statement, Indiana Farm Bureau’s president said the closure will place an “unusual hardship” on farmers.

“I’ve had open communication from Josh Trenary at Indiana Pork Producers Association and reached out to both Governor Holcomb and Lt. Governor Crouch. They are working together to focus the right resources on this hot spot,” said INFB President Randy Kron.

“Indiana Farm Bureau is extremely concerned about the closure of the Tyson pork processing facility. This is a devastating blow to the pork producers who sell hogs to Tyson. We ask all local and state officials involved to find an innovative solution to re-open this facility.”

Indiana Farm Bureau asked that the Indiana State Department of Health and the Board of Animal Health work with local officials and Tyson to reopen the plant as soon as possible.

Tyson officials had previously closed the plant Monday for extensive cleaning.

Such plants have become a concern during the coronavirus pandemic. Also on Wednesday, Tyson suspended operations at its Waterloo, Iowa, plant due to the number of COVID-19 cases.  The facility, the company’s largest pork plant, had been running at reduced levels due to absenteeism from employees who were sick or feared getting ill.

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