• Cargill to reduce meatpacker jobs
Tightening cattle supplies is prompting Cargill Meat Solutions to downsize the workforce at its Dodge City, Kansas plant, according to Cargill spokesman Mark Klein.
The meat giant, a beef and turkey supplier to Wal-Mart Stores Inc., said it began talking to employees this week and does not have a firm number on how many could be laid off or reassigned.
Estimates reported by Meat & Poultry from local news sources estimate about 300 workers could be affected. The plant employs more than 2,000 workers.
Cargill said it’s trying to align plant production with reduced available supply of cattle for slaughter in this region, stemming from persistent drought which forced herd liquidations over the past two years.
The U.S. cattle herd is the smallest it's been in 60 plus years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As of Jan. 31, cattle and calves totaled 87.7 million head, down 2% year-over-year.
Klein said decisions to lay off workers are never easy and the company looked at every possible option to avoid making workforce cuts. The company continues to invest in the Dakota City facility adding a $50 million automated box distribution system which will improve operational efficiency and customer service levels.
Drought and lack of cattle also prompted Cargill to shutter its Plainview, Texas slaughterhouse last year and move its remaining business to other facilities such as Dodge City.
• Kellogg works with Wal-Mart on rice crop sustainability
Cereal maker Kellogg recently announced a partnership with Wal-Mart Stores to improve rice crop sustainability and help small growers worldwide.
"As a grains-based company, we have a commitment both to the environment and to the people who grow those crops," said Kellogg CEO John Bryant. "We are pleased to partner with Walmart in support of rice growers and rice growing communities around the world."
He said because rice is one of the company’s largest ingredient purchases – used for Rice Krispies® and Special K® worldwide – it's appropriate that the new partnership with Walmart focuses on supporting smallholder rice growers as they work to improve their methods – and with that their yields and livelihoods as well.
Specifically, Kellogg pledges to:
• Further support rice growers and rice growing communities to advance their practices, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
• Supporting initiatives with producers in every country in which Kellogg sources rice globally, that will, by 2020, lead to a 25% increase in the adoption of Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) practices.
• Monitor progress and impact using a number of metrics and align this initiative with the Global Alliance on Climate Smart Agriculture, which is to be launched later this year at the United Nations.