Saying both its bacon-processing plant and its location are inefficient for the company, Tyson Foods says it will close down its Holly Ridge, N. C., operation on June 2. The plant, which employs 467, was among those acquired last September from IBP. Prior to that, it was owned by Thorn Apple Valley, Inc. The plant is near the Atlantic coast midway between Jacksonville and Wilmington.

Two reasons were given by Tyson for closing and selling the 132,000-square-foot plant:
(1) Age of the facility, with part of the structure dating back to World War II and the rest more than 30 years old.
(2) Distance from Tyson's hog-slaughtering plants, the nearest being in Indiana.

A concerted effort is being made by local and area government, civic and economic-development leaders to keep the plant open. Onslow County Manager Ron Lewis told Pork, "Our delegation is to meet April 30 with Tyson officials at their Fayetteville, AR, headquarters. We want to discuss issues dealing with the plant which might be addressed for Tyson to keep the plant operating."

As plans now stand, the its operations will be moved to Tyson's Vernon, TX, plant and possibly others owned by the company in the nation's "midsection". It will continue to market bacon under its various brands– including Thorn Apple Valley, Wilson Certified, Corn King, Colonial– and also continue to process private-label bacon.

The company announcement said the plant's equipment will be moved to other Tyson operations and that the North Carolina property will be put on the market. Employees interested in staying with Tyson will be interviewed about job opportunities at other Tyson locations.