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CHICAGO, Jan 17 (Reuters) - U.S. agribusiness giant Cargill Inc said on Thursday it will idle its Plainview, Texas, beef processing plant on Feb. 1 due to tight U.S. cattle supplies brought on by years of drought in the Southern Plains states.
"The U.S. cattle herd is at its lowest level since 1952. Increased feed costs resulting from the prolonged drought, combined with herd liquidations by cattle ranchers, are severely and adversely contributing to the challenging business conditions we face as an industry," John Keating, president of Cargill Beef, said in a statement.
Cattle previously sent to the Plainview plant will be shipped to Cargill's beef plants in the region, at Friona, Texas; Dodge City, Kansas, and Fort Morgan, Colorado.
The company's regional beef facilities at Fresno, California; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Wyalusing, Pennsylvania, as well as its beef plant in Schuyler, Nebraska, and two beef plants in Canada are not affected, Cargill said.
Cargill plans to layoff the 2,000 employees at the plant.