Southeast Missouri family sues over Tyson plant closure

DEXTER, Missouri – A family in southeastern Missouri sued Tyson Foods this week, alleging that the company’s decision to close its Dexter plant would leave them in financial straits.

Tyson, which is under pressure to improve profit margins in its chicken business, announced on Aug. 7 that it plans to close the plant in the Bothell, Missouri area on Oct. 13.

In the lawsuit filed Tuesday, the Kessler family, which raised and sold chickens for Tyson for decades, claims they were led to believe they could expect to continue doing business with the company for years to come. The petition says that when the factory closes, they will be left without a viable customer.

“They can tear down their barns, and that’s all there is to it,” said Russell Oliver, a lawyer with The Oliver Firm, who represents the family.

People also read..

The petition says chickens can only be transported a short distance — 45 miles — whether for animal welfare or because the birds are more likely to die on long journeys. The petition says the Tyson plant in Dexter is the only chicken processing facility within 45 miles of the family farm, so when it closes, the family’s operations will be “almost nothing.”

Tyson did not respond to a request for comment Thursday. The company previously said it would hold one-on-one conversations with each of the farmers affected by the closure and discuss their options.

The lawsuit alleges that the Keslers made investments in their operations at Tyson’s behest — expenses that “would take many years of work to recoup,” the suit alleges. The petition says that they did not know until August 7 that the company would be closing the factory, and were told that no new flocks would be handed over to them for breeding after August 28.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Gary, Rebecca, Eric and Chad Kessler. The Kessler family has operated broiler houses for 29 years. They originally served Hudson Foods, which owned the plant in Dexter until Tyson acquired Hudson in 1998. The family owns 14 chicken houses.

The suit alleges that the family’s last production contract began in December 2018, and that after Gary Kessler’s death in June of this year, Tyson claimed the contract had expired.

Through their lawyer, the family declined to comment for this story.

The Dexter plant has long supported a network of truck drivers, farmers and other ancillary businesses in the area. Dexter Mayor Jason Banken said there are about 30 nearby chicken producers who contract with Tyson.

In the two weeks since the closure was announced, Banken said, the plant has begun winding down some of its operations. Part of the factory’s 683 workers have found jobs at other companies: the nearby Safekeeping Company and the Nestlé Purina factory 15 miles north, among others.

Oliver, the attorney representing the Keslers, said other farmers in this situation may feel as if the rug has been pulled from under them — that they’ve worked for something for years, and suddenly find themselves facing massive amounts of debt.

“People can feel that there is no hope,” Oliver said. “I want them to know that there are options available, and that there are other farmers in similar situations.”

For the first time, US regulators on Wednesday approved the sale of chicken made from animal cells, allowing two California companies to serve “lab-grown” meat to the country’s restaurant tables and, eventually, to supermarket shelves. The Department of Agriculture has given the green light to Upside Foods and Good Meat, companies that have been racing to be the first in the US to sell meat that does not come from slaughtered animals – what is now referred to as “cell culture” or “cell cultured meat”. “Cultivated” meat when it leaves the lab and makes its way onto dinner plates. The move ushers in a new era of meat production that aims to eliminate harm to animals and greatly reduce the environmental impacts of grazing, growing animal feed and animal waste.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button