A former Tyson Foods plant in Cherokee, Iowa, that has been idle since 2014 is back in operation under new ownership.

The plant, which idled in 2014, was slated to begin operations on January 28 under the ownership and operation of Iowa Food Group, according to a report from the Sioux City Journal. About 35 people are employed at the facility, and Iowa Food Group partner Mack Zimmerman said that number will continue to grow in coming months, adding that the number of workers should grow to around 100 yet in 2019.

Iowa Food Group workers will take chicken, beef, pork and lamb meat – slaughtered elsewhere – and further process it for the retail and/or foodservice sectors. The further processing done at the Cherokee plant will include slicing, dicing, marinating and packaging.

While Tyson Foods will no longer operate the plant, it will continue to be involved as one of the providers of meat products to be further processed there.


Iowa Food group in 2018 announced its formation and its decision to purchase the Cherkokee Facility, which had been part of Tyson’s Prepared Foods business.

The facility was built in 1965 by Wilson Foods. Tyson Foods obtained the facility in 2001 with the acquisition of IBP Inc., but until recently, Tyson had retained the lease of the building, even after taking the plant offline in 2014.

Tyson announced its decision to close the Cherokee facility at the same time it revealed it would be closing other Tyson Prepared Foods plants in Buffalo, New York and Santa Teresa, New Mexico. The company stated at the time that the decision to close the plants was due to a combination of factors, which included changing product needs, the age of the Cherokee facility and prohibitive cost of renovating it. It further stated that the distance of the Buffalo and Santa Teresa plants from their raw material supply bases was also a factor in the closure of those two plants.