Blizzard conditions close U.S. meat plants

Source: Farm Progress. The original article is posted here.

Blizzard conditions close U.S. meat plants

By Michael Hirtzer

Severe winter weather is curtailing America’s meat production, with two of the biggest beef packers idling Kansas slaughter plants as blizzard conditions swept through the region this week.

Cargill Inc.’s plant in Dodge City, Kansas, suffered a partial power outage, and 50 workers were temporarily stranded at the plant Monday due to a road closure. The plant will be reopened when power is restored and it’s deemed safe for workers. Tyson Foods Inc. also had a plant impacted in the state.

“We realize that some employees got stuck on the road outside the plant. We are working with local authorities and have hired tow truck drivers to assist them and other motorists,” Cargill said in a statement.

When meat plants close, protein prices can start surging if supplies run thin. Meanwhile, farmers may face lower prices for their livestock with demand for the animals disrupted.

The number of cattle slaughtered in the US fell to 94,000 on Tuesday, compared with 128,000 a year earlier, according to US Department of Agriculture data. It’s the lowest weekday total so far this year.

Tyson Foods canceled two shifts at its beef plant in Holcomb, Kansas, on Tuesday, the company said in a statement. Employees on Monday were offered hot meals and a place to seek shelter amid dangerous travel conditions.

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