The closure of the Tyson pork and poultry processing plant in Noel, Missouri has raised serious questions about the future economic security of the Ozarks region. After more than thirty years of operating in the area, the shutdown of the facility has sparked a collective soul-searching amongst those resident in the area. Tyson’s shutdown placed nearly 300 people out of work, many of whom had worked there for many years. The economic impact of this closure is expected to be significant, not only to Noel, but to the region as a whole.
A notable element of Tyson’s closure was the lack of warning given to the workforce. Many employees were only informed of the plans shortly before it happened. There had been rumblings of potential closure but nothing concrete. This lack of communication serves as a stark contrast to the situation in Breese, Illinois where workers were provided several months of warning as Governor J.B. Pritzker ultimately decided on the closure of the facility.
The closure of Tyson has prompted serious questions for the economic future of the region. With Tyson’s closure, the question of how to replace this major employer is now an urgent one. There have been calls for increased investment from private entities or the State government to bolster job opportunities for those affected by the closure. However, this can be a difficult task as Noel is an area of rural deprivation. As such, improving job prospects in this region is no easy task.
The closure of Tyson has also fuelled discussion of wider issues in the region. The discussion of the region’s economic security has also spurred upon debate over the need for greater structural investment from public bodies and the private sector. With Tyson gone, it is important to identify new avenues for job creation in the area, and what kind of infrastructure could help make those jobs go further.
The closure of Tyson has prompted a collective soul-searching of the Ozarks region. With the loss of one of its major employers, the area is now left confronting the issue of economic insecurity and how to move forwards. It is now for the people of the Ozarks to decide how best to respond to the serious economic issues facing them.