Cargill will not rebuild in Booneville, Ark.
Will use existing facilities elsewhere for meat processing
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 1, 2008
Contact: Mark Klein, 952-742-6211
BOONEVILE, Ark. – After an Easter Sunday fire heavily damaged its meat processing plant here, Cargill Value Added Meats (CVAM) said today with regrets that it will not rebuild the facility, and will instead produce meat products at other Cargill facilities.
“The decision to not rebuild in Booneville was agonizing, especially since local and state officials have been very supportive of Cargill staying in the area,” said John O’Carroll, CVAM president. “We also know that the great people we employed at Booneville will be disappointed as well, although we hope they are well on their way to finding other employment.”
CVAM says that building a plant would take up to 22 months, which is much longer than the company originally estimated in the days after the fire.
“We need to rebuild the business now to take care of our customers,” O’Carroll said. “We can do that by making use of existing space at other facilities, but not if we waited up to 22 months to build a new plant.”
Some of the Booneville production is already being done at other Cargill facilities. O’Carroll said that CVAM will look to installing new equipment at other plants to produce the rest of the product formerly done at Booneville.
On March 27, CVAM officials told the civic leaders and Booneville employees that it would be many months before the plant could be rebuilt.
“Our message to our employees was that even if we rebuilt in Booneville, they would need to find employment now,” he said. “We hope most are finding other opportunities.”
At the March 27 meetings, CVAM noted that that employees could apply at other Cargill facilities. So far, 25 hourly employees have transferred to other Cargill facilities. About 15 management employees are interviewing for positions elsewhere.
With the Booneville plant closed, the employee deductions for the United Way of Ft. Smith stopped. CVAM decided to fund the plant’s yearly contribution of $25,000, and match it with another $25,000.
“Cargill is a big supporter of United Way, and we are confident that the Ft. Smith United Way office will be able to make the best use of the funds for the Booneville area community,” O’Carroll said.