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Tyson Foods will lay off nearly 1,700 employees in May with the closure of two chicken plants in Arkansas and Virginia, according to multiple reports.

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Tyson will close plants in Van Buren, Arkansas, and Glen Allen, Virginia, on May 12, according to KFSM-TV and WTVR-TV. The closures will affect about 970 employees in Van Buren and nearly 700 workers in Glen Allen, the news stations reported.

In a statement obtained by CNBC, a Tyson official said that the decision “was not easy” but “reflects our broader strategy to strengthen our poultry business by optimizing operations and utilizing full available capacity at each plant.”

“The current scale and inability to economically improve operations has led to this difficult decision to close the facilities,” a company spokesman told The Wall Street Journal in a statement. The newspaper reported that the company was working with impacted employees to help them apply for open jobs at other facilities.

Last month, Tyson reported an operating income of $69 million from its chicken business for a three-month period ending Dec. 31, 2022. A year earlier, the company reported an operating income of $140 million for the same business segment.

In a call discussing the company’s latest results, Tyson CEO Donnie King noted that “demand didn’t appear in the parts of the market where we had expected,” according to CNN.

“As a result, we had to move things around,” he said. “As we think about moving forward, efficiency in our operations in our company will be the focal point for us.”

Tyson had 142,000 employees as of October 2022, including 124,000 in the U.S.