VAN BUREN, Ark. – Workers at a Tyson Foods plant in Van Buren received some bad news Monday.

Workers were presented with a letter announcing that the poultry processing plant would be shutting down effective May 12. The plant employs 969 people.

A Tyson spokesperson called the closure “difficult.”

“After careful consideration, we’ve made the difficult decision to close our Van Buren, Arkansas plant effective May 12, 2023, and shift demand to other Tyson Foods facilities,” they said. “While the decision was not easy, it reflects our broader strategy to strengthen our poultry business by optimizing operations and utilizing the full available capacity at each plant.”

A company spokesperson said workers would have the option of applying for positions at other Tyson Foods facilities as well as applying for relocation assistance. The company was also working with state and local agencies “to provide resources and assistance for those who choose to remain in Van Buren,” the spokesperson said.

The Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988 requires employers of 100 or more people to give a 60-day notice of planned plant closings. The Arkansas Department of Labor is not required to receive WARN Act notifications.

The news came after the company announced the purchase of a Tennessee-based sausage company last month. 

The plant was built in 1975.