Kansas Leaders Offer Support After Tyson Fire

Kansas leaders are working to assist Tyson after the fire. ( Tyson )

Cattlemen saw an immediate negative impact to markets following last Friday’s fire at Tyson Foods’ Holcomb, Kan., facility. State and local leaders have met with Tyson representatives to offer their support and to review state aid options. Tyson employs 3,800 workers at the Holcomb facility.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly appeared with Tyson representatives before the media in Garden City on Wednesday, thanking first responders and applauding Tyson for its actions after the fire.

“Tyson is to be commended for its pledge to continue paying its workers affected by the temporary closure of the plant and it’s very good to hear that you intend to repair the damage and reopen,” she said in remarks to the media in front of Tyson CEO Noel White and Tyson Fresh Meats president Steve Stouffer.

Kelly noted that the plant’s temporary shutdown will affect many individuals and businesses in the beef industry that fuels western Kansas, including cattle producers, equipment manufacturers, beef vendors and transportation providers.

Kelly also said Secretary of Commerce David Toland and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Beam had met with representatives from Tyson, local government and the finney County Economic Development Corp. on Saturday.

The Governor said Kansas agencies are ready to help Tyson employees and other industries. She also said members of her administration are monitoring falling cattle prices and have communicated with Senator Jerry Moran to determine what can be done on a federal level.

Earlier this week Moran acknowledged the beef industry would see higher transportation costs for cattle headed to slaughter.

"The trucking industry will be hugely impacted by this," Moran said. "And what we're looking for is perhaps a waiver for hours of service. So, if you have to haul the cattle further distance to Texas or Nebraska, you'll be able to do that."