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Tyson Beef Plant Holcomb Oklahoma Farm Report

Operations at Tyson beef plant to resume soon

CEO says plant could be up and running in fewer than 60 days.

The Tyson Foods Holcomb, Kan., beef plant that burned in early August will likely resume operations within the next 60 days, if not before, the company’s chief executive officer said during a conference call Tuesday.

“We think that’s probably on the long end," CEO Noel White said. "We think it could be potentially quicker than that. There are still some contractors that are finishing up, but the team has done a remarkable job to get back where it needs to be.”

Tyson reported Nov. 12 that it recorded $31 million of fire-related expenses in its fiscal 2019 fourth quarter due to the fire, which led to lower quarterly results than expected.  

“There have been tremendous steps taken by the entire beef team, our contractors and the community to rebuild the plant and get us back to full operations as quickly as possible,” White said.

He also relayed that the workers whose jobs were affected by the fire are still being paid, despite the setback.

The plant employs approximately 3,300 people and had been processing about 6,000 head per day.

The Aug. 9 fire had the cattle industry scrambling to fill the void left in the supply chain, as the plant equated to approximately 6% of total industry slaughter capacity. It also represented 23.5% of Kansas's fed cattle packing capacity.

The industry had been slaughtering at a level of about 97,000 head per day. Daily slaughter rates through week following the fire were around 91,000, 92,000 and even 93,000 head. The industry ended up harvesting about 519,000 head -- right where it needed to be, according to Kevin Good, market analyst for CattleFax.

Between Saturday shifts and utilizing two-way plants, the industry was able to stay on the right track.

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