SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Tyson Foods announced that it will be closing one of its plants in Arkansas.
On March 13, the Springdale-based food production company said that it will close its Van Buren plant this spring.
“After careful consideration, we’ve made the difficult decision to close our Van Buren, Arkansas plant effective May 12, 2023, and shift demand to other Tyson Foods facilities,” Tyson said in a statement. “While the decision was not easy, it reflects our broader strategy to strengthen our poultry business by optimizing operations and utilizing the full available capacity at each plant.”
The statement added that team members remain Tyson’s “top priority,” and that it will work with employees affected by the Van Buren closure to “help ensure they have the option to apply for open positions and relocation assistance where applicable to other Tyson Foods facilities.”
Tyson also said that it is coordinating with state and local agencies to provide resources and assistance to its employees that want to stay in Van Buren.
Impacted Tyson team members responded to the news on Tuesday. The two who spoke with KNWA/FOX24 were shocked to hear the news. Now they’re trying to figure out what’s next.
Evelee Hamilton has worked at the Van Buren plant for two years. She said a lot of people have accumulated vacation time and have put a lot of time into their job at the factory. Now, people are having to start over.
Hamilton is going to try to apply to jobs in the area but said leaving Van Buren isn’t an option. This is where she’s grown up and spent her entire life.
“What do you do? What do you do when you find out your financial stability is cut?” Hamilton said.
Adam Boehler is another team member at the Tyson plant in Van Buren. His family lives in the area, and he isn’t going to leave. He added that finding a job when hundreds of people are having to do the same thing will be a challenge.
While he understands that closures like this happen, Boehler hopes both himself and his co-workers are able to get through this.
“It happens. It’s part of life. Do I wish something could be done about it? Yes,” Boehler said.
The Van Buren Chamber of Commerce also received the information about the shutdown Monday. Since then, members of the chamber have been making efforts to help those that will be displaced.
The president of the chamber, Julie Murray, said over 900 employees will be impacted by the Tyson shutdown. The first thing she did was make plans for a career fair, helping those who need a job to find one.
“We’re pulling our community partners together to identify all the resources we have available for these folks that are going to be looking for new employment,” Murray said.
The chamber will work with Tyson Foods to figure out what future plans are and what the chamber can do to help. Murray said she’s also working with surrounding businesses to gather resources to help match jobs and training with workers who may need it.