Changes at California Cargill plant will affect about 60

The Cargill Plant in California Missouri has been a Cargill facility since 1974.

The Cargill Plant in California Missouri has been a Cargill facility since 1974. Photo by David Wilson.

Cargill Value Added Meats Retail announced to processing plant employees at the California plant that the third shift will be shut down effective at the end of the shift on Oct. 12.

Mike Martin, Director of Communications for Cargill, Inc., Wichita, Kan., provided several reasons for this change:

  • Escalating input costs such as grain, which has resulted in softening demand for turkey meat products;

- The need to manage turkey meat inventory, which has been building due to that weakening demand;

  • And, increasing transportation costs for raw materials being shipped to Cargill’s Springdale, Ark., facility for further processing.

"Eighty-two positions will be impacted, although approximately 35 will be absorbed into other positions at the plant and some others will fill vacancies resulting from routine plant attrition," martin said. "The best current estimate is that approximately 35 hourly, 20 temporary and six salaried employees will be impacted. Impacted employees will receive severance payments, outplacement services and other appropriate support."

Cargill is also in the process of communicating with impacted third parties, including contract growers, USDA, utility companies and others.

Prior to this reduction, the California Cargill facility employed approximately 500 people. The plant is one of four turkey processing facilities operated by the company in the United States.  The others are located in Virginia, Texas and Arkansas.

"Decisions such as these are never easy, especially when they involve loyal and dedicated colleagues," said David Fryar, plant general manager. "We prefer not to have to do this, but unfortunately the current business conditions have forced our hand and we are in a position where we must reduce our costs at our California plant.

“We will continue to provide community support through employee volunteerism, in addition to investments in health and nutrition, education and the environment made by our employee-managed Cargill Cares Council and Cargill, Inc., corporate matching grants,” Fryar said.

Originally built in early 1965 as a production plant for Ralston Purina, the facility became a part of the Cargill family in 1974.

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