Tyson Foods closes Nebraska pork plant after fire, sends pigs elsewhere

Source: Reuters

Tyson Foods Inc (TSN.N) is diverting pigs from a Nebraska processing plant after a weekend fire kept the facility closed on Monday, the company and fire officials said.

Shipping pigs to other plants seeks to avoid disruptions to U.S. pork production and backing up hogs on farms while Tyson works to resume normal operations at the facility in Madison, Nebraska.

Tyson said the plant will have limited operations for the rest of the week as the company assesses damage from the fire and begins repairs.

“During this time we are diverting livestock normally received at our Madison plant to other Tyson Foods pork facilities and do not expect disruption in our ability to meet our customer needs,” Tyson said. The company added it will “gradually resume production.”

The plant has about 1,200 employees and normally operates one shift a day to process pigs.

It typically slaughters roughly 8,250 hogs a day, said Steve Meyer, lead economist for Partners for Production Agriculture. That is not among Tyson’s biggest plants, but represents about 2% of daily U.S. hog slaughtering.

The plant did not run on Monday after the fire on Sunday, said Paul Kellen, assistant fire chief in Madison.

Madison Mayor Robert Fite said several nearby fire departments were called in to help the city’s volunteer firefighters battle the blaze.

Tyson did not identify the cause of the fire or the locations of the facilities receiving pigs that would normally be processed in Madison.

“They’re able to absorb anything like this and keep the animal flow going,” said Al Juhnke, executive director of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association. “We have farmers that need to deliver pigs in a timely manner.”