PLAINVIEW, Texas, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Cargill Beef said Thursday it would close its Plainview, Texas, processing plant shedding 2,000 jobs, due to a limited cattle supply.
The company's president John Keating said the company was "compelled to make a decision that would reduce the strain created on our beef business by the reduced cattle supply."
Keating said the U.S. cattle herd "is at its lowest level since 1952," noting that years of drought in Texas and the Southern Plains states had contributed to the decline.
Cargill said it would close the plan Feb. 1, and said it simultaneously informed federal, county, state and city officials of the setback, "as well as Cargill customers, suppliers and other key stakeholders."
Cargill also said displaced employees would receive "company support," including assistance finding work at other Cargill locations.
"Increased feed costs resulting from the prolonged drought, combined with herd liquidations by cattle ranchers, are severely and adversely contributing to the challenging business conditions we face as an industry. Our preference would have been not to idle a plant," Keating said in a statement.
The company said it would re-direct cattle intended for the Plainview plant to processing facilities in Friona, Texas, Dodge City, Kan., and Fort Morgan, Colo.
The company's plants in Fresno, Calif., Wyalusing, Pa., Schuyler, Neb., Milwaukee and in Canada were unaffected by the decision, Cargill said.
"Our long-term commitment to U.S. beef production is unwavering," Keating said.