Butterball is scaling back some operations at its turkey processing plant in Carthage, Missouri, as the company works to balance its productions at the facility to better align with the products consumers demand.
Long-term adverse conditions in the commodities market, where Butterball has routinely sold excess protein produced at the facility, has resulted in the need to ramp down certain production processes at this location, the company stated in a press release. This ramp-down in specific manufacturing operations at the Carthage facility will take place over the course of several months, beginning no sooner than March 1, 2021.
The plant will continue to produce ground turkey and turkey burgers. The change will impact approximately 450 total Butterball team members, including approximately 400 team members represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 2 (UFCW).
In addition, the change will impact a limited number of turkey growers in the Midwest, however, Butterball said it does not anticipate reduction in the Carthage-area growers at this time.
The company said it worked closely with the UFCW to address the impact of the operational changes on the workers represented by the union.
“We are making every effort to provide support to our team members during a challenging time by providing a variety of paths to lessen the impact, including the opportunity to relocate to other Butterball facilities and severance packages,” said Butterball President and CEO Jay Jandrain. “In spite of the ongoing market pressures that led to this decision, it was important to our leadership team that we find ways to carry our team members and their families through the holidays and provide continued employment through at least March of 2021.”
The decision to scale back production, the company said, in no way reflects the hard work and dedication of the company’s team members, nor is it a reaction to the recent global COVID-19 pandemic.
Butterball said it is in the process of notifying all parties impacted by this change and will fulfill contractual obligations with all its partners.
Butterball, according to the WATTPoultry.com Top Companies Database, is the largest turkey company in the United States. In 2019, the company slaughtered approximately 1.3 billion pounds of live turkeys.