Iowa Town Optimistic for Pork Plant

City Officials Think Tyson Pork Plant May Reopen in Perry, Iowa

Jennifer Carrico
By  Jennifer Carrico , Senior Livestock Editor
The Tyson pork plant in Perry, Iowa, stopped processing pigs on June 28. Perry city officials say they are optimistic for the plant to sell and continue operations. (DTN/Progressive Farmer photo by Jennifer Carrico)

REDFIELD, Iowa (DTN) -- Tyson Food's pork plant in Perry, Iowa, ended production on June 28, but a city official is optimistic the plant will be sold and reopen under new ownership.

Perry City Administrator Sven Peterson told DTN Tyson officials have been very open to communicating with the city regarding the future of the plant after the closure left more than 1,200 people without work.

"The closure has affected about 800 of our residents and 300 students in our schools have connection to those workers," Peterson said.

Some workers found other jobs prior to the closing, many have transferred to other Tyson plants in the state, several took retirement, and another group are waiting out the closure he said. Tyson told the Perry administrator they have had several other companies tour the plant and there is a chance the facility will reopen under new ownership, but there is no given timeline.

"We know if the plant does get sold, it will take some time for the new company to get it up and running with a new system," Peterson said. "I wish we could say what the timeline might be, but we just don't know if it will happen."


PerryNext has been developed for residents who have been affected by the closure. It is a collective effort of local, county, regional and state officials to provide business attraction efforts, workforce resources, and deal with social issues in the community. This group has held two job fairs for residents to find local jobs as well as jobs within a driving distance, so they don't have to relocate. Peterson said they also want to attract new employers to the area to help the available workers.

"This group has done a great job of providing a sense of optimism for our local workforce," he added. "Perry has seen a lot of challenges through the years with this plant changing hands and the railroad leaving town. We are resilient and will find what we need to for our residents."

Peterson said they have also kept in mind the agricultural producers in the area who are affected and hope a reopening of the plant will help those people as well.


The Perry plant killed 9,000 hogs each day which were sourced from some of the 6,000 pork farms in Iowa which market more than 45 million head annually. These hogs have likely been sent to Tyson's other three pork processing facilities in Iowa.

The Storm Lake plant currently kills 17,250 head per day, the Waterloo plant harvests 19,500 pigs per day and Columbus Junction does 10,350 hogs daily.

The closure hit Perry's No. 1 employer and that will be felt down to the other businesses in town. Peterson said losing a large number of students in the school could affect the district's budget by more than $2 million.

"Thankfully our school has a year to figure out how to deal with a budget cut. Our other businesses won't have that luxury," he said. "We will continue to stay optimistic for the plant to reopen."

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Jennifer Carrico