US meat processor Tyson Foods has said it will open a major case ready meat plant in Sherman, Texas, creating up to 1,600 jobs.

Tyson will spend approximately US$100m to renovate the former Oscar Mayer plant in Sherman. Initial operations are expected to begin in early 2006. The plant will be transformed into Tyson’s largest case ready operation, producing pre-packaged cuts of fresh beef and pork that retail grocers are able to place directly into the meat case.

“We’re excited about proceeding with this project, which represents another monumental step in the evolution of our case ready meats business,” John Tyson, chairman and CEO of Tyson Foods, said. The company also has case ready meat operations in Amarillo, Texas; Goodlettsville, Tennessee; and Council Bluffs, Iowa.

The 537,000 sq ft plant was first opened by Oscar Mayer in 1974 and was used to produce bacon, hot dogs and sausage. Oscar Mayer closed the plant in 1998. The facility was purchased in 2000 by IBP, a company that was subsequently acquired in 2001 by Tyson Foods and is now known as Tyson Fresh Meats.