Cargill, Inc., Wayzata, Minn., announced plans to close its Milwaukee, Wis., beef harvest facility, effective Aug. 1. The closure of the facility results primarily from the tight cattle supply brought about by producers retaining cattle for herd expansion. The ground beef plant at the site will remain open to meet customer needs, retaining approximately 200 people.
Cargill purchased this beef harvest plant in 2001, and has been processing around 1,300-1,400 animals a day. For the more than 600 people impacted at the plant, Cargill will be offering opportunities to fill positions at other company locations in the region. Those who relocate to positions at other Cargill facilities will receive assistance. For displaced employees, Cargill will provide support, including a job fair in Milwaukee the week of Aug. 4.
“Closing our Milwaukee beef plant is taking place only after we conducted an 18-month-long analysis of the region’s cattle supply and examined all other possible options,” says John Keating, president of Cargill Beef, Wichita, Kan. “It is unfortunate that we must close any beef plant because of the impact to good people, their families and the community. The harsh reality is that the U.S. beef cattle herd is at its lowest level since 1951, with any significant herd expansion being years away.”