Tyson Foods reducing workforce at Robards poultry plant

Tyson Foods is reducing its workforce at its poultry plant in Robards, Kentucky, citing a shift in consumer demands as its reason.

Roy Graber Headshot
(Roy Graber)
(Roy Graber)

Tyson Foods is reducing its workforce at its poultry plant in Robards, Kentucky, effective January 24.

The company cited a shift in consumer demand and a response to that demand for the decision.

Tyson Foods’ fully cooked, value-added chicken products continue to meet the growing demand for convenience from consumers,” the company said in a statement. “Due to this growing demand … we are shifting our product mix to reflect consumer behaviors and meet the needs of our customers. Unfortunately, this change in product mix will result in reducing our workforce at that facility.”

While the company did not disclose how many jobs would be eliminated as a result of this change, 14 News reported that about 200 people would be laid off from the Robards facility.

The company said that all team members affected by these changes will receive relocation assistance to Tyson’s nearby facilities in Humboldt, Tennessee, and Shelbyville, Tennessee. 

“We are also working with state and local agencies and officials to help ensure all team members, who choose not to relocate, are connected to the resources and assistance available to them,” Tyson Foods stated.

The company declined requests for additional information on the situation.

Tyson Foods acquired the Robards facility in 1998. 

In 2016, the plant underwent a capital improvement project, valued at $13.5 million. At the time, it was reported that the improvements made at the plant would allow the company to “upgrade its product mix to meet growing consumer demand.” The improvements included new freezer equipment, two new production lines, and processes and technologies to benefit food and workplace safety.

Tyson Foods’ Robards operation was honored for two consecutive years through the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) Clean Water Awards. In 2019, it received an honorable mention with distinction award in the pretreatment category. In 2020, it was named the winner, also in the pre-treatment category.

A fire occurred at the Robards plant in April 2021. That fire apparently started in a cooker at the plant. The structure itself was not damaged, but there was a small amount of damage to the facility’s ductwork.

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