Tight cattle supplies have seen Cargill announce it is to close its Milwaukee beef processing plant with approximately 600 jobs at risk.

“Closing our Milwaukee beef plant is taking place only after we conducted an 18-month-long analysis of the region’s cattle supply and examined all other possible options,” said John Keating, president of Cargill Beef.

“It is unfortunate that we must close any beef plant because of the impact to good people, their families and the community. The harsh reality is that the US beef cattle herd is at its lowest level since 1951, with any significant herd expansion being years away.”

The ground beef facility at the site will remain open, employing around 200 people.

The plant was purchased by Cargill in 2001 and has a processing capacity of 1,300 to 1,400 animals daily. It will cease production tomorrow (1 August).