An update on a story we’ve been following for several months now. We’ve learned the investigation into the Tyson beef plant fire is ongoing, AgDay’s Clinton Griffiths reports.
Back in August the Tyson beef processing plant in Holcomb, Kansas, was forced to shut down after a large fire. The plant has a slaughter capacity of 6,000 head per day, accounting for 5% of all U.S. fed cattle packing capacity.
The fire and disruption to supplies sent cattle prices plummeting for a short time. Portions of the industry demanded an investigation and USDA said they were looking into it. Experts at this year’s cattlemen’s convention told AgDay that report is still pending.
“I wish I could tell you time, we’re working with other federal government people in order to help us complete that. And I don’t really have a time date. We want it,” says Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “We want to have good facts and better, better investigation and forensics rather than a quick report and that I would have hoped had been done really by the end of the year. But we’re doing a thorough deep dive that we’re looking at, and we’ll do it as soon as possible,” he continued.
The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) was the first organization that filed a formal request with both USDA and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to do some market oversight after the fire in Kansas this past summer, Griffiths reports.
“We are waiting for the results to come out because we do believe it’s going to have a huge impact on next steps for our industry. We continue to ask the USDA and of course get it done as quickly as possible, but not rush it to a point where they miss something,” says NCBA CEO Colin Woodall.
“This needs to be thorough, because a lot of people are waiting to see this as the definitive answer of what happened. And as I said, it will be used to help determine next steps on things such as reauthorization of mandatory price reporting,” Woodall says.
The Tyson plant was able to reopen in late December.
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