It said that although the plant will be down indefinitely, the company plans to rebuild the plant at the same location.
“This is a difficult time for our team members and their families, and we want to ensure they’re taken care of,” said Steve Stouffer, group president of Tyson Fresh Meats. “Today, we will notify our full-time, active team members that they’ll be paid weekly until production resumes.”
Stouffer said the team members may be called on to work during this time to help with clean-up and other projects, but regardless of the hours worked, all full-time active employees are guaranteed pay.
Officials are still assessing the damage, making too early to establish a timeline, but work to clear damage has already begun.
“We’re taking steps to move production to alternative sites,” Stouffer said. “Tyson Foods has built in some redundancy to handle situations like these and we will use other plants within our network to help keep our supply chain full.”
Stouffer commended plant management for quickly and efficiently evacuating the building. As a result of their actions, there were no injuries reported during the fire. The company added that it “greatly appreciates the hard work, dedication and help from the Holcomb and Garden City, Kansas fire departments, as well as the Finney County sheriff’s office”.
Tyson Foods operates six plants in Kansas, employing more than 5,600 people. In the company’s fiscal year 2018, it paid $269m in wages within Kansas and estimated its total economic impact in the state to be more than $2.4bn.
Tyson also announced the appointment of chief marketing officer Noelle O’Mara as the new lead of its prepared foods division. Her new role involves managing all aspects of Tyson Foods’ $9bn prepared foods business, which includes billion-dollar brands Tyson, Jimmy Dean, and Hillshire Farm. The job also includes oversight of one-third of Tyson Foods’ manufacturing facilities and more than 25,000 team members.
“Noelle is the right choice to lead the continued growth of our prepared foods business,” said Noel White, president and CEO of Tyson Foods. “She has the leadership, knowledge and experience we need to help us deliver the next generation of innovation and service to our customers and consumers.”