The Idaho Cattle Association (ICA) is among groups disappointed in Tyson Foods' Aug. 17 announcement regarding the Oct. 16 permanent closure of the Boise, ID, beef plant. The closure means the loss of hundreds of jobs in the region and deals a blow to Idaho's beef packing infrastructure. Lloyd Knight, ICA executive vice president, says the closure means the loss of capacity to process nearly 500,000 head of cattle/year, limiting the ability of Idaho producers and feeders to market cattle.

While acknowledging the cost-cutting aspect of the Tyson decision, Knight says a number of factors likely contributed to the decision. These include:

  • A needlessly burdensome regulatory climate that increases production costs for both packers and cattle feeders - forcing feedlot operators to feed fewer cattle.
  • Prolonged closure of export markets to U.S. beef.
  • to cost effectively import fed cattle to Tyson plants to compensate for what the company believed to be an inadequate domestic supply.
"Our members still are fortunate to have three viable packing plants in the Pacific Northwest - including Tyson's Pasco facility, Washington Beef in Toppenish, and Swift and Co.," Knight explains. "ICA members will continue to focus on the productive relationships with these partners - and any potential new partners - to ensure a viable and profitable cattle industry in Idaho."
-- Clint Peck