“We need to remain positive....” Dexter city leader responds to Tyson plant closure announcement

Tyson chicken plant set to close - Dexter, Mo.
Published: Aug. 7, 2023 at 11:35 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 7, 2023 at 6:20 PM CDT
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DEXTER, Mo. (KFVS) - Tyson Foods announced on Monday, August 7 the company will be closing four chicken processing plants, which includes operations in Dexter.

According to the City of Dexter, the closure is expected to impact 683 Tyson employees at the Dexter facility and others connected to the plant. This would include chicken growers, farmers, truck drivers and more.

Dexter city leaders said Tyson plans to lock the factory doors by October 13, 2023.

As the shock of the announcement sets in, Dexter City Administrator David Wyman is asking the community to support all of the plant’s workers and to understand the decision to close the Dexter location was made at a corporate level.

“We need to remain positive about our local Tyson management and local Tyson employees,” said Wyman in a released statement. “They had zero input on the decision, and we have enjoyed a tremendous relationship with them for years.”

Tyson said the decision to close the Dexter plant and the plants in North Little Rock, Arkansas, Corydon, Indiana, and Noel, Mo., is to lower costs.

In the released statement, Wyman explained the closure of the Dexter facility and the other plants makes sense from a corporate standpoint because they are older.

Wyman said the Dexter plant was opened in the 1930s and poultry production has been active in the city since the 1890s.

It’s believed the shutdown of the plant will have a significant impact on the local economy.

“This business is a local business and those dollars stay in our community. Not only those paychecks that are going home with those employees, but those employees have families and those kids go to not only the dexter school district but other school districts in the area as well they come to our grocery stores, they go to our movie theaters, they go to the parks, they swim at the swimming pool, so it’s just one of those multiplying effects that it will be felt initially and it will be felt many times down the line,” said Wyman.

Wyman said city leaders recognize this and are focusing on how to encourage economic development in Dexter.

“We have already been in contact with legislators and we are going to try to work with the department of economic development.”

One Dexter resident, Mark Mcclintock, said he was shocked to learn the news of the plant’s closure.

“I didn’t believe it,” he said. “I thought maybe it was a rumor.”

Another resident, Nathan Barnes, said he feels for his fellow community members.

“A lot of families being hurt, going to have to scrape by. A lot of jobs are hiring and it’s basically going to be first come first serve for families,” said Barnes.