A group of chicken farmers from Bloomfield, Missouri, are taking legal action against Tyson Foods. They allege that Tyson breached their contracts by shutting down their Dexter, Missouri processing plant. The lawsuit was filed on December 22nd at the Stoddard County Circuit Court.

The farmers are claiming damages of $25,000 and more, arguing that Tyson had known since November 2021 about the impending closure of the Dexter facility but still encouraged the farmers to invest more and take on debts. Tyson’s business model involved owning chickens at every stage – from hatching to slaughter – at the Dexter complex, with the farmers contracted to raise them.

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These farmers, under Tyson’s directives, managed how the chickens were raised, including the use of specific equipment and supplies. They believed their partnership with Tyson would continue as long as they adhered to Tyson’s requirements. However, after over two decades in operation, Tyson announced in August 2023 that the Dexter plant would close by October of the same year.

Following the closure, Tyson reached a deal with Cal-Maine Foods, an egg producer. Cal-Maine intends to transform the former poultry processing facility into an egg grading operation and has plans to work with some of Tyson’s former contract farmers to shift their operations towards producing cage-free, free-range, or pasture-raised eggs for Cal-Maine.

Related: Tyson Foods Employees Class Action

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