Windom pork processing plant faces potential closure, loss of 1,000 jobs

About 1,000 workers at a pork processing facility in southwest Minnesota could lose their jobs starting next week if the plant’s owner can’t find a buyer.

In a letter to state officials, Canada-based HyLife Foods said it purchased the Windom, Minn. plant in 2020 “with a goal of turning operations around” and had made investments in the facility.

“Unfortunately, despite these efforts, we have had to combat a number of challenges, including inflationary pressures, high grain costs, foreign exchange rates and the plant’s operational losses,” HyLife CFO and Senior Director of Business Operations Tom Seigfreid wrote in a Monday letter to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

“For some time now, the company has been exploring several strategic options that would have enabled it to continue go-forward operations despite these financial challenges. Unfortunately, so far, these efforts have not been successful,” he wrote.

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HyLife said it’s working to find a buyer for the plant, located along State Highway 60 on the north side of Windom.

“We must, however, acknowledge the possibility that we will be unable to find such a buyer or that, if a sale takes place, the buyer will not extend offers to some or potentially all of the employees at the facility,” Seigfreid wrote.

The company said layoffs or a plant closure could happen between April 17 and May 1, or between May 19 and June 2.

At the time HyLife bought a majority stake in the Windom plant in 2020, the company said the facility processed about 1.2 million hogs each year.

City officials expressed optimism that a new buyer will be found. City Administrator Steve Nasby told KEYC-TV the HyLife plant is “a turnkey operation at this point” with a well-trained workforce, and utilties and transportation in place.

“We’re hoping for a very smooth and quick transition into a new buyer,” he told the Mankato TV station.