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2 months after school shooting, Iowa town is losing its largest employer as pork plant closes

PERRY, Iowa (AP) — Tyson Foods will continue streamlining its operations by closing a pork plant in Iowa that employs 1,200 people and eliminating the largest employer in the town of Perry.

The plant closure will be the second major blow to the town this year coming just two months after a 17-year-old student opened fire at school, killing a sixth grader and his principal as well as wounding six others.

Tyson announced the plant closure Monday. It comes after the company closed several other plants last year ago and consolidated its corporate operations the year before.

“After careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to permanently close our Perry, Iowa pork facility," a Tyson spokesperson said. “We understand the impact of this decision on our team members and the local community.”

Tyson said it will work with state and local officials to help workers who are losing their jobs, but the company didn't say what severance packages it will offer. Tyson did say it will encourage workers to apply for openings at its other plants.

“While this decision was not easy, it emphasizes our focus to optimize the efficiency of our operations to best serve our customers,” the Tyson spokesperson said.

Six years ago, Tyson received $674,000 in incentives from Iowa to help it pay for a $44 million upgrade to the Perry plant.