Tyson Foods is closing a processed meats plant in Oklahoma in a bid to “improve operational efficiency”, with the loss of 580 jobs.

The move will involve shifting production from the Ponca City plant to other company facilities. The company said it is now trying to find a buyer for the plant, which has been in operation since 1995.

Production will gradually be shifted to Tyson plants in Buffalo, New York; Cherokee, Iowa; and Houston, Texas.

“This is a very difficult decision because it affects the lives of our people, their families and the community; however, it is critically important to our business,” said Dick Belsito, senior vice president of processed meats for Tyson Foods. “After extensive consideration, we’ve concluded closing Ponca City and moving the production to three other plants is necessary to improve the viability of our overall processed meats operations.”

The facility closing is expected to result in a non-cash charge to Tyson’s fiscal second quarter earnings of around $0.02 per share.

Tyson officials have been in contact with potential buyers of the plant; however, no sale has been completed, the company said.

Staff at the Ponca City plant, which produces a variety of deli-style luncheon meats and ham products, have been given a 60-day notice period, as required by law.

The closing process will begin in late May and is not expected to be completed until July or August.

“We want to express our appreciation to our Ponca City team members for their hard work and support of the company over the years,” said Belsito. “This decision was based on improving asset utilisation, not on their job performance.”