September 14, 2021
JBS to resume Nebraska, US beef operation after fire incident
JBS USA halted production on September 13 at a Nebraska, US beef plant that slaughters about 5% of US cattle due to a fire, but said the company expects to resume operations on today.
The temporary closure highlighted concerns among US lawmakers and ranchers that the United States is vulnerable to supply disruptions as a handful of meatpacking companies dominate the sector and rely on large plants to produce food.
The country has suffered a series of beef supply shocks over the past two years as large plants closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a cyberattack that crippled JBS's operations and another fire that shut a Tyson Foods Inc plant in Kansas for months.
The JBS fire in Grand Island, Nebraska, did not impact the plant's "primary production areas," spokesperson Nikki Richardson said. The company, a subsidiary of Brazilian firm JBS SA, expects to resume operations pending an ongoing assessment of the situation, she said.
The affected plant has the capacity to slaughter 6,000 cattle a day, according to a daily livestock report from Steiner Consulting Group. Meatpackers slaughter about 120,000 cattle per day nationwide.
"This year, processing capacity has already been squeezed by COVID disruptions and labor availability and the industry can ill afford losing a big processing plant like this," Steiner Consulting said.