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Cargill to shutter Springfield plant

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Cargill informed its 118 Springfield employees Friday of its decision to close its local plant.

The 3610 E. Kearney St. meat slicing and packaging facility is slated to shutter March 11, and plant operations will relocate to Cargill facilities in Nebraska City, Neb., and Waco, Texas, according to a news release.

“These decisions are never easy, especially when they involve good people who do great work for our business,” said Ruth Kimmelshue, president of Wichita, Kan.-based Cargill Turkey & Cooked Meats. “We value the contributions of our colleagues and will do as much as possible to help those who are impacted find other employment, including at other Cargill locations.”

Cargill acquired the plant in 2008 as part of its purchase of Willow Brook Foods’ Springfield operations. After the purchase, Cargill closed Willow Brook plants at 501 N. Main Ave. and 405 N. Jefferson Ave., eliminating 780 local jobs. The Jefferson Avenue property is now home to Missouri State University’s Robert W. Plaster Center for Free Enterprise and Business Development.

Cargill officials said the move to close the Kearney Street plant streamlines production.

“Given the scale of our facilities where this work is going, the proximity to raw materials, and technology-driven efficiencies that can be gained, in addition to the shipping logistics benefits for our customers, we believe this move better positions us for future growth in a highly competitive environment,” Kimmelshue said in the release. “Nevertheless, it always hurts when people’s jobs are impacted, which is why we will offer to provide them with an appropriate level of transition support.”

Cargill Turkey & Cooked Meats is a division of Cargill Inc. The privately held Minneapolis-based parent company reported fiscal 2015 second-quarter net income of $784 million for the three months ended Nov. 30, up 41 percent from $556 million in the same quarter a year earlier, according to a separate release.[[In-content Ad]]

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