Updated: July 30, 2014 3:19PM
NEW YORK — Cargill says it plans to close a Milwaukee beef-processing plant that employs about 600 people Friday due to a shortage of cattle.
The meat producer says a Midwest drought in 2011 and 2012 hurt cattle levels. Now, many herders are breading the cattle they have and not selling them. Cargill says US beef cattle herd is at its lowest level since 1951.
The Milwaukee plant being closed slaughters live cattle and packages beef products.
Employees were told about the closure Wednesday. A separate plant at the site, which produces ground beef and employs about 200 people, will remain open.
Cargill says the 600 people losing their jobs can apply for work at other facilities in the region.
Minneapolis-based Cargill has about 143,000 employees around the world.