Tyson restarts shifts

Cattle Market & Farm Reports, Editorials
Feb 21, 2005
by WLJ
Tyson will restart suspended operations at beef plants in the Upper Midwest and pacific Northwest, company officials announced Feb. 10. The affected plants will resume production on a staggered basis over the next two weeks.
Market conditions prompted Tyson to suspend operations Jan. 10 in Denison, IA; Norfolk and West Point, NE; and Boise, ID. Second shift processing at Pasco, WA, was also temporarily discontinued.
The company now plans to resume production based on the following schedule:
Denison Wednesday, Feb. 16
Norfolk A-shift processing Monday, Feb. 21
West Point Tuesday, Feb. 22
Boise Tuesday, Feb. 22
Norfolk B-shift processing Wednesday, Feb. 23
Pasco B-shift processing Thursday, Feb. 24
Designated employees at the affected plants have been receiving the equivalent of 32 hours of pay each week since the second week of the suspension, Tyson said, and these workers will continue be paid the 32 hour guarantee while the plants remain idle. Once the plants resume operations, they will likely still operate at reduced levels of production until market conditions improve.
“While cattle numbers remain tight, we believe supplies will improve in the months ahead, especially as the anticipated flow of Canadian cattle resumes,” said John Tyson, chairman and chief executive officer of Tyson Foods.
“Beef demand has been weak, largely because of high beef prices and the attractive value of competing meats. We typically experience seasonal improvements in beef sales as we move into the spring and summer months. We’re hopeful cattle prices will moderate, so beef can be priced more competitively with other proteins.”
Tyson also addressed recent progress in U.S. efforts to restart beef exports to Japan. “While the technical agreement reached between the two countries is a positive step, we believe the U.S. beef industry remains months away from any meaningful exports to the Far East,” he said. — WLJ