Butterball plant, closed because of flooding, reopens

The Butterball turkey plant in Ozark, Arkansas, which had been closed due to flooding in the area, is now again in operation.

Roy Graber Headshot
Photo courtesy of Butterball
Photo courtesy of Butterball

The Butterball turkey plant in Ozark, Arkansas, which had been closed due to flooding in the area, is now again in operation.

The company closed the plant on May 24 because of severe weather concerns, and the facility stayed closed over the Memorial Day weekend, explained Christa Leupen, Butterball public relations manager. Because of continued flooding, the plant remained out of operation until June 4, when day shift operations resumed. All regular operations were scheduled to resume on June 5.

Leupen said the plant did not receive any structural damage, but because the highway leading to the plant was impassable due to flooding, plant operations were suspended because the company did not feel it would be safe for employees to commute to work.

According to a news report from KSFN, the nearby Arkansas River crested at just under 40 feet during that time, which passed the record level of 38.1 feet, set in 1945.

About 600 people are employed at Butterball’s facility in Ozark.

The Butterball plant in Ozark has received multiple awards for its safety record over the past decade. In 2016, it was one of seven Butterball facilities to receive the Award of Distinction during the National Safety Conference for the Poultry Industry.

In 2012, the Ozark Area Chamber of Commerce awarded Butterball with the “Large Business of the Year” award for its community involvement.

Butterball is presently in the process of building a new feed mill in nearby Yellville, which will support the company’s operations in Ozark.

Butterball, according to the WATTAgNet Top Poultry Companies Database, is the largest turkey producer in the United States. It slaughtered 1.33 billion pounds of live turkeys in 2018. Company brands are Butterball, Carolina Turkeys, Just Perfect and Farm to Family. The company, led by new CEO Jay Jandrain, is headquartered in Garner, North Carolina.

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