UPDATE: Tyson has now officially announced that it will stop production on or before Saturday, April 25. The Indianapolis Star is reporting that 146 employees at the plant tested positive for COVID-19.
The press release states that Tyson is partnering with the Cass County Health Department to conduct testing on all of its 2,200+ team members. All affected Logansport employees will receive compensation while the plant is closed.
Dr. Dori Ditty, Cass County Health Department health officer, says, “Tyson Fresh Meats is an economic anchor for our community and is critical for the food supply. We want to get the facility back up and running as safely and quickly as possible.”
The original story is below:
Multiple sources have told Hoosier Ag Today that the Tyson Foods plant in Logansport is preparing to close due to employees falling ill to COVID-19. They say production on Wednesday was canceled.
Indiana Farm Bureau says the Cass County Commissioners voted to close the Tyson plant today (Wednesday) for 14 days. Tyson has reportedly voluntarily agreed to a 14-day closure so that complete testing and tracing may occur.
“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.”
Tyson did announce Wednesday morning that operations at their plant in Waterloo, Iowa will be suspended. The facility, the company’s largest pork plant, has been running at reduced levels of production due to worker absenteeism, and will stop production mid-week until further notice.
The facility’s 2,800 team members will be invited to come to the plant later this week for COVID-19 testing.
“Protecting our team members is our top priority and the reason we’ve implemented numerous safety measures during this challenging and unprecedented time,” said Steve Stouffer, group president of Tyson Fresh Meats. “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.
“The closure has significant ramifications beyond our company, since the 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.”
In their release, Tyson says their other plants currently continue to operate, but some are running at reduced levels of production either due to the planned implementation of additional worker safety precautions or worker absenteeism.