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Tyson Foods closing 3 plants with 950 workers in Iowa, New York, New Mexico

SPRINGDALE, Ark. - Tyson Foods Inc. says it's closing three U.S. plants, employing a total 950 workers, which have struggled financially as the company's product needs have changed.

Tyson, the biggest U.S. meat processor, announced Friday the planned closures of the plants in Cherokee, Iowa; Buffalo, New York; and Santa Teresa, New Mexico. The company said the action will enable it to move some of the operations and equipment at the plants to other, more cost-efficient Tyson plants.

The Cherokee plan will close Sept. 27, and the Buffalo and Santa Teresa plants are expected to shut down in the first half of 2015.

The affected workers will be encouraged to apply for job openings elsewhere in the company and will be invited to job fairs organized by the company, Tyson said.

The three plants have been part of Tyson since 2001, when it acquired IBP Inc. There are about 450 employees at the Cherokee plan, 300 in Buffalo and 200 in Santa Teresa, according to the company.

Tyson, based in Springdale, Arkansas, has some 115,000 employees in 130 countries.

Like other meat producers, Tyson is facing changing consumer tastes and volatile meat prices. Its net income more than doubled in the latest quarter, benefiting from strong demand for chicken and higher prices for beef and pork. But earnings fell short of expectations, due in part to higher costs.

Tyson signed a $7.75 billion deal earlier this month to buy Hillshire Brands Co., the maker of Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park hot dogs.

Tyson shares declined 5 cents, to $39.49, in after-hours trading Friday following the company's announcement.

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